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Last Updated: Monday, 9 May, 2005, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Indonesia's Suharto seriously ill
Former Indonesian President Suharto (C) waving to journalists as he leaves a hospital in Jakarta, May 2004
Suharto has been dogged by ill health in recent years
Former Indonesian President Suharto is in intensive care after being taken to hospital on Thursday.

He is said to be suffering intestinal bleeding, and doctors say his condition could be life-threatening.

"The possibility for recovery is 50-50," said Mardjo Soebiandono, head of his medical team at Jakarta's Pertamina Hospital.

Mr Suharto, 83, has been suffering from ill health since his forced resignation in 1998, after 32 years in power.

He was indicted for alleged corruption, but was deemed unfit to stand trial due to a series of strokes.

Former Indonesian President Suharto
Born in Java, June 1921
As army minister, plays a central role in helping Sukarno overcome a coup in 1965
Becomes president March 1967
Modernisation programmes in the 70s and 80s raise living standards
East Timor forcibly annexed in late 1975
Asian economic crisis of the 1990s hits Indonesian economy
Spiralling prices and discontent force him to resign in May 1998
Judges rule he is unfit to stand trial for corruption in 2000

Despite his age and frailty, Suharto remains a divisive figure in Indonesia.

His supporters credit him with leading his country from poverty to relative prosperity, making Indonesia a force to be reckoned with in Asia.

But this economic growth came at a price: Suharto's dictatorial regime was repressive, and he repeatedly ignored demands for political reform.

He was regularly accused of corruption and allowing human rights abuses, most notably in East Timor, where his armed forces waged a sustained campaign against local separatists.

Critics accused him of amassing a private fortune during his 32-year rule.

But in 2000 judges dismissed a US$600m corruption case against the former dictator, after doctors testified that a series of strokes had left him brain damaged and unfit to face prosecution.

Since then, the former strongman has lived quietly in his Jakarta home, watching from the sidelines as his country has moved towards full democracy.

Health check ordered on Suharto
07 Jan 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Suharto's mental health in spotlight
18 Jun 02 |  Asia-Pacific
Rise and fall of strongman Suharto
28 Sep 00 |  Asia-Pacific

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