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.