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Indonesia Suharto's condition deteriorates-doctor

Written by: Staff
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JAKARTA, May 13 (Reuters) Former Indonesian President Suharto's condition has deteriorated after further internal bleeding, but the long-time ruler is fully conscious, one of his doctors today said.

Suharto, 84, who ruled Indonesia for 32 years, was admitted to hospital more than a week ago because of bleeding in his digestive system, which lowered his body's oxygen level, including to his brain.

''His (health) is going down, he's not stable yet ... but he is conscious,'' Hermansur Kartowisastro, a surgeon who is part of Suharto's medical team, told Reuters.

''There's a new bleeding in different parts of his body, though it has gone down. It was worse last night.'' Doctors had earlier said Suharto seemed to be on the road to recovery after surgery on his colon.

The former general has been hospitalised several times since he stepped down in 1998 when social and political chaos engulfed Indonesia. He has suffered several strokes since then.

He has also had lung and kidney problems.

Yesterday, Indonesia's attorney-general said his office had dropped graft charges against Suharto because of his poor health.

The octogenarian's illness had so far prevented his prosecution on charges of graft.

A final ruling on closing the case against Suharto lies with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who earlier yesterday decided to hold off on a decision.

Suharto sharply raised incomes in Indonesia at the expense of political freedom and endemic graft during his years in power, with critics saying he and members of his family corruptly amassed up to 45 billion dollars accusations they deny.

In a rare interview in late 1998, Suharto rejected speculation he'd stashed wealth overseas.

''The fact is I don't even have one cent of savings abroad, don't have accounts at foreign banks, don't have deposits abroad and don't even have any shares in foreign firms,'' he said.

REUTERS OM RK1430

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