Uzbekistan is preparing for the burial of President Islam Karimov, one of the most authoritarian leaders in Asia, who died this week aged 78.
Confirmed his death by the government in Tashkent on Friday, six days after he was taken to the hospital after suffering a stroke.
He ruled for 27 years, is accused by human rights groups harshly repressed opposition.
It comes the funeral on Saturday, amid uncertainty over who will succeed him.
However, the occasion – in the home of Mr. Karimov from Samarkand – will be overseen by Prime Minister Shaukat Mirziyoyev, seen as a possible successor.
And it is observed three days of mourning.
Obituary: Islam Karimov
What does it matter to Uzbekistan
The UN report has described the use of torture under Karimov as “systematic.”
The late leader often justifies his strong-arm tactics by highlighting the threat of Islamic militancy in the country’s predominantly Muslim, which lies on the border with Afghanistan.
Republic of Uzbekistan
Population 28.1 million
Area 447,400 square kilometers (172,700 square miles)
Home Uzbek languages, Russian and Tajik
The main religion of Islam
Average life expectancy is 66 years (men), 72 (women)
Uzbek currency Som
During a security crackdown in the eastern city of Andijan in 2005, hundreds of people were killed.
After a wave of car bombs Tashkent targeted in 1999, Karimov said: “I am ready to rip off the heads of 200 people, to sacrifice their lives for peace and tranquility in the country if a child of mine chose. Such a path, I myself would rip off his head.” .
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