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Suharto condition 'improving'

The 80-year-old former president has been hospitalized on several occasions since his fall from power
The 80-year-old former president has been hospitalized on several occasions since his fall from power  

Staff and wires

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- The condition of former Indonesian President Suharto is improving following two days of blood transfusions, reports quoting medical personnel said Saturday.

The 80-year-old former strongman was taken ill Thursday with intestinal bleeding but he refused to be hospitalized and was treated at his Jakarta home, doctors said.

However, Suharto's personal physician said that after receiving intensive medical care and a visit from his recently arrested son Tommy his condition had show signs of improvement and he was eating again.

"His condition is now much better compared to yesterday. He can eat now...he ate porridge this morning," Doctor Koenindro Dadi told Reuters.

"We have stopped giving him blood transfusions," he was quoted as saying.

Dadi added that the visit overnight Thursday from his youngest and favorite son, Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra, had greatly boosted Suharto's spirits.


The younger Suharto is currently being held in a Jakarta jail awaiting trial on charges of masterminding the murder of a judge who sentenced him to jail for corruption.

He was allowed to leave his cell under escort after authorities issued a special permit granting him limited time to visit his father.

Tommy's case is expected to reach court next week.

Since he was forced from power amid massive street protests in 1998, former President Suharto has suffered a variety of ailments including strokes and pneumonia.

Despite widespread allegations of corruption and charges that he and his family amassed huge illegal fortunes during his three decades in power, his condition has meant that prosecutors have not been able to bring him to trial.

Last week a judge again turn down legal efforts to reopen the case, citing Suharto's frail health.

All members of the Suharto family have denied any wrongdoing, insisting their wealth is both legally acquired and far smaller than critics allege.




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