Uzbek leader dies: Uzbekistan bids farewell to long-ruling President Karimov

15:04 Sep. 3, 2016

Uzbekistan bids farewell to long-ruling President Karimov

Flowers at the Uzbek Embassy in Moscow in memory of Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov. (GettyImages Photo)

Country buries its ruler Islam Karimov, who died at the age of 78 after suffering from a stroke  

Thousands of people gathered on the streets of Samarkand, Karimov's hometown, to bid farewell to the President, who had ruled the country for more than a quarter of a century.

They stood along the roads as Karimov's funeral cortege was moving through the city from the airport, where the President's body was delivered earlier from Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.

Read also: Uzbek president Islam Karimov dies - Reuters (video)

Foreign dignitaries, including Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Stepan Kubiv, arrived in the country to attend the funeral ceremony, held in accordance with Islamic traditions.

Karimov was buried in the cemetery in Samarkand, near the tombs of his parents. A three-day mourning was announced throughout the country.

Tashkent officially declared President Karimov's death on September 2, following unconfirmed rumors about his demise that had been emerging for several days.

Read also: US Secretary of State in first meeting with autocratic Uzbek leader

Karimov passed away after suffering from a stroke on August 27. He ruled the country for almost 27 years across its history first as a part of the Soviet Union, then as an independent state.

Karimov's Presidency was criticized by many human rights watchdogs, saying he was reliant of force to keep his citizens in check.

'Islam Karimov leaves a legacy of a quarter century of ruthless repression', said Steve Swerdlow, Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch.

As RFE/RL reports, the Uzbek Constitution states that if the president is unable to perform his duties the head of the upper chamber of parliament assumes presidential authority for a period of three months. That is Senate Chairman Nigmatulla Yuldashev.

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