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Uzbekistan's president laid to rest in Samarkand

Uzbekistan's president laid to rest in Samarkand

Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov who died this week at the age of 78 has been buried in his home city of Samarkand.

Saturday’s funeral came amid continued uncertainty over who will succeed him.

The Uzbek government officially announced Karimov’s death on Friday linking it to a stroke.

Earlier on Saturday, thousands of mourners lined the streets of the main thoroughfare in the capital Tashkent as the late leader’s cortege headed to the capital’s airport.

Karimov, one of Asia’s most autocratic leaders, ruled Uzbekistan for 27 years. He was accused by critics and human rights groups of harshly repressing dissent.

His death has raised fears of a power vacuum in a country which is seen as a key player in the fight against radical Islam in central Asia.

For the moment, the ex-Soviet republic’s long-time prime minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev, who was designated mourner-in-chief appears to be in pole position.

His deputy, Rustam Azimov, is also seen as a potential successor.

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has described Karimov’s death as ‘‘a great loss for the people of Uzbekistan’‘.

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