Condition of former Indonesia dictator Suharto "weak"

Doctors treating ailing former Indonesian dictator Suharto said Friday his "condition is weak" but that he was conscious after being admitted to hospital for intestinal bleeding.

They said Suharto, 84, was receiving a blood transfusion while medical staff tried to stop the bleeding.

"The condition of Suharto right now has not been stabilized, but he is still conscious and he still recognized his family, but his condition is weak," said presidential doctor Brig. Gen. Marjo Subiandono.

A second doctor, Arrie Harijanto, said Suharto's condition was "an emergency."

"We are now observing Suharto, trying to stop the bleeding because he is in the phase of emergency, because intestinal bleeding is continuing," Harijanto said at Pertamina Hospital in Jakarta, the capital.

Suharto was admitted to the hospital on Thursday evening after complaining he felt "very weak," Harijanto said. Tests showed a low count of hemoglobin, or red blood cells carrying oxygen, and he was given a blood transfusion later in the night.

It was the fourth time since May 2004 that Suharto has been admitted to hospital for intestinal bleeding, including a weeklong stay a year ago.

Suharto, who turns 85 in June, suffered permanent brain damage resulting from two strokes after his downfall in 1998.

A former general, he rose to power by crushing Indonesia's communist movement. He ruled the vast nation of 220 million for 32 years with a tough hand, only to be chased from office by street protests, reports the AP.

I.L.