NEWS BRIEF Uzbekistan President Islam Karimov has been hospitalized after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke over the weekend, the leader’s daughter said Monday.
“His condition is considered stable,” Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, Karimov’s daughter and an Uzbek diplomat, wrote in an Instagram post. “At the moment it is too early to make any predictions about his future health. My only request to everyone is to refrain from any speculations, and show respect to our family's right to privacy.”
Reports of Karimov’s poor health were first announced Sunday by the country’s Cabinet of Ministers, the Associated Press reports. The government statement on Karimov’s health did not elaborate on the specifics of his condition, saying only that Karimov, who is 78, is “receiving inpatient treatment” that “will require a certain amount of time.” The statement was fairly unprecedented; Uzbekistan is rated among the “worst of the worst” countries in terms of repression by Freedom House, a U.S. non-governmental organization tracking democracy, political freedom, and human rights. The country is known for discouraging expression that may be considered threatening to the stability of government.
“It’s been important for all authoritarian rulers to project strength at all times,” Steve Swerdlow of Human Rights Watch told the BBC Monday. “Certainly any vocalization that Karimov’s power is not absolute has been seen as a threat to the entire system.”