Uzbekistan buries president Karimov

The funeral of Uzbekistan’s President Islam Karimov, who died after a stroke this week at the age of 78, has taken place in the city of Samarkand.

Thousands lined the streets in both Samarkand and in Tashkent, from where his coffin was earlier flown.

Karimov, one of Asia’s most autocratic leaders, ruled for 27 years, and was accused by human rights groups of harshly repressing dissent.

Saturday’s funeral comes amid uncertainty over who will succeed him.

The event in Samarkand, Karimov’s home city was overseen by Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev.

Mr Mirziyoyev has been in office since 2003. His deputy, Rustam Azimov, is also seen as a key player.

Three days of mourning are being observed.

The Funeral
On Saturday, a funeral cortege carried the president’s body to Tashkent airport.

His wife Tatyana Karimova and younger daughter Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, dressed in black and wearing headscarves, were shown in tears as the coffin was loaded on to a plane for the short flight to Samarkand.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and the presidents of ex-Soviet states Tajikistan and Turkmenistan were among those attending.

Great Loss
Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev at the funeral described the president’s death thus: “Our people and Uzbekistan have suffered an irreplaceable loss. Death took from our midst the founder of the state of Uzbekistan, a great and dear son of our people.”

After a mufti said funeral prayers in Registan square to the all-male mourners, the president’s body was taken to be buried at the Hazrati Hizir mosque.