Image: Suharto
Bay Ismoyo  /  AFP - Getty Images file
Former Indonesian dictator Suharto, 84, was indicted in 200 for allegedly embezzling $600 million.
updated 5/19/2006 1:15:42 AM ET 2006-05-19T05:15:42

Indonesia’s president said after visiting ailing ex-dictator Suharto in the hospital early Friday that he was in “serious condition.”

Suharto, who was ousted after 32 years in power in 1998 amid student protests and nationwide riots, underwent colon surgery earlier this month to stop intestinal bleeding.

His doctors said tests Thursday revealed two blockages in his brain but did not elaborate.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited Suharto, 84, for about 20 minutes early Friday, saying it was his “moral duty.”

“I have done the same for all senior government officials, including former presidents and vice presidents, when they were sick,” he said. “And he is seriously ill.”

The Indonesian government last week announced plans to drop charges against Suharto, who was indicted in 2000 on allegations of embezzling $600 million but has never seen the inside of a courtroom.

His lawyers argued successfully for years that a series of strokes had left the former dictator with irreparable brain damage and that he was not fit to stand trial.

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