Islam Karimov, the man who ruled Uzbekistan for 27 years and was criticized for his authoritarian tendencies, has died at the age of 78, leaving no obvious successor. Ashraf Fahim reports.
Uzbekistan president, Islam Karimov died of a stroke, aged 78. He was in power for more than a quarter of a century. Karimov was long criticized by the west and human rights groups for his authoritarian style of leadership. Critics say he used torture to maintain his grip on power…. But the Uzbek leader saw himself as the protector of the Central Asian nation of 32 million, particularly against the threat of Islamist militants. Born in the ancient city of Samarkand, Karimov grew up in a state orphanage. He rose through the ranks of the Soviet Communist party to become president in 1991. After dominating Uzbek politics for almost three decades, the Uzbek strongman leaves no obvious successor.