Uzbekistan’s longtime strongman is laid to rest amid praise from his Cabinet – Los Angeles Times

Uzbekistan’s widely criticized authoritarian leader Islam Karimov was hailed as a statesman and democrat by his government as he was laid to rest Saturday in the ancient silk road city of Samarkand. 

The coffin of 78-year-old Karimov, whose death from a cerebral hemorrhage was announced Friday, was placed in the renowned Registan square, flanked on three sides by Islamic schools covered in intricate, colorful tiles and topped with aqua cupolas. 

Thousands of men packed the square — women were excluded — to hear a mufti give a funeral prayer that said, “Islam Karimov served his people.” The body was then taken to the Shah-i-Zinda necropolis, another architecturally significant site, for burial. 

Karimov became the leader of Uzbekistan in 1989, when it was a Soviet republic, and held power with ruthless determination throughout all of the country’s independence. He crushed opposition, repressed the media and was repeatedly denounced by activists abroad for human rights violations, including killings and torture. 


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