Indonesia's Suharto Dies at Age 86

Ruled for 32 years; resigned amid corruption, human rights charges
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2008 2:45 AM CST
In this handout photo released by President Office, Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, center, stands by the body of former Indonesian President Suharto at his house in Jakarta, Sunday, Jan...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Former Indonesian president Suharto, a US Cold War ally whose legacy of economic development was marred by charges of human rights abuses and corruption, died today of organ failure at 86, Reuters reports. Suharto ruled for 32 years until being forced out in 1998; his deteriorating health prevented him from ever going to trial even though accusers allege he had perhaps 1 million opponents killed and had embezzled billions.

Suharto rose to power in 1965 ostensibly to resist an attempted communist coup.  During the Cold War Suharto was considered a reliable friend of Washington, which didn't oppose his 1969 occupation of Papua and 1974 invasion of East Timor. He led a largely reclusive life in Jakarta since his government toppled 10 years ago amid democracy protests, the AP notes.