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Last Updated: Friday, 5 May 2006, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
Suharto's condition is 'unstable'
Former Indonesian President Suharto. File photo
Suharto has been dogged by ill health in recent years
Doctors treating former Indonesian President Suharto say he is "weak" and his condition is still unstable after suffering partial organ failure.

However his doctor, Mardjo Soebiandono, said blood transfusions had managed to improve his condition marginally.

The former dictator was taken to Pertamina hospital in Jakarta with intestinal bleeding on Thursday night.

Mr Suharto, 84, has been dogged by ill health since his forced resignation in 1998, after 32 years in power.

This is the fourth time since May 2004 that he has been admitted to hospital for intestinal bleeding.

But even though he is now a shadow of his former self, he still seems to have some fight left in him, the BBC's Rachel Harvey in Jakarta says.

One of his doctors told the BBC that Mr Suharto was refusing to have an exploratory probe inserted into his intestine.

The former president has proved equally resistant to close legal scrutiny, our correspondent adds.

Mr Suharto was indicted on corruption charges six years ago, but his lawyers have consistently argued that he is too ill to stand trial.

Corruption claims

Mr Suharto has left a controversial legacy from his three decades in power.

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: Mr Suharto's dictatorial regime was repressive, and he repeatedly ignored demands for political reform.

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
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 guerrillas fighting for independence.

An independent report has said at least 100,000 Timorese died as a result of Indonesia's 25-year occupation, which ended in 1999.

Critics also accused Mr Suharto of amassing a private fortune during his rule.

But in 2000 judges dismissed a $600m corruption case against Mr Suharto, 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 moved towards full democracy.

Last month, the Indonesian attorney-general asked doctors to re-examine Mr Suharto to see whether his health had improved enough for him to stand trial.

But with this latest health scare, the prospects of bringing him to court look increasingly unlikely.

Suharto to be checked for trial
24 Apr 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Indonesia's Suharto 'feels better'
10 May 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Indonesia's Suharto seriously ill
09 May 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Health check ordered on Suharto
07 Jan 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Rise and fall of strongman Suharto
28 Sep 00 |  Asia-Pacific

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