Former Indonesian president Suharto dies

 

Indonesia's former president Suharto, whose legacy of economic development was marred by human rights abuses during his 32 years in power, died this morning, aged 86, after suffering multiple organ failure.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (centre), first lady Ani Yudhoyono accompanied by the eldest daughter of former president Suharto, Siti Hardijanti Indra Rukmana (right) and daughter Siti Hediyati Hariyadi (left), next Suharto's body.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (centre), first lady Ani Yudhoyono accompanied by the eldest daughter of former president Suharto, Siti Hardijanti Indra Rukmana (right) and daughter Siti Hediyati Hariyadi (left), next Suharto's body.

"I invite all the people of Indonesia to pray that may the deceased's good deeds and dedication to thenation be accepted by Allah the almighty. And to the family who are left behind, may Allah give them strength to face this trial," President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said in a statement.

"Mr Suharto has done a great service to the nation."

Suharto had been in critical condition in hospital since January 4th. Despite his humiliating overthrow in 1998, many of the region's leaders and Indonesia's elite rushed to his bedside to pay their respects as he lay dying.

Singapore's former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew and Malaysia's former leader Mahathir Mohamad flew to Jakarta, paying tribute to Suharto's role in bringing stability to the region.

Suharto's sudden illness prompted many ordinary Indonesians across the archipelago to debate his legacy and question whether he should be pardoned or whether legal proceedings against him should continue.

"The civil suit must be suspended because we are in no position to represent Mr Suharto because he has passed away. And now the prosecutors must deal with the family to sort it out," said Mohammad Assegaf, one of Suharto's lawyers.