|Biographical detail : ||President of Uzbekistan .
IOne of the longest–serving world leaders having ruled Uzbekistan – the world’s fifth-largest cotton exporter as well as a top 10 producer of gold and uranium – with an iron fist since before its independence.
Karimov rose through the Soviet bureaucracy before being appointed the first secretary of Uzbekistan’s Communist party – the republic’s top position – in 1989.
When Soviet Union collapsed, he became president, a position he maintained for the next 25 years through sporadic elections that international observers labelled undemocratic.
He was accused as one of the world’s most brutal dictators, jailing and torturing thousands of his critics. In 2005, Uzbek security forces fired at largely unarmed protestors in Andijan, in the country’s fertile Fergana valley. The government announced a death toll of 187, but witnesses and non-government organizations said that several times that number were killed.