Uzbekistan is preparing to bury President Islam Karimov, one of the most authoritarian leaders of Asia, who died this week.
He ruled for 27 years, and is accused by human rights groups of severely repressing dissent.
Saturday’s funeral comes amid uncertainty over who will succeed him.
However, the occasion – in the home city of Samarkand of Mr Karimov – will be managed by Prime Minister
Shavkat Mirziyoyev, viewed as a possible successor.
An United Nations report has described the utilization of torture under Mr Karimov as “organized”.
The late leader regularly warranted his strong arm tactics by emphasizing the danger from Islamist militancy in the predominantly Muslim state, which borders Afghanistan.
The official announcement of the death of Islam Karimov came on Friday night. But the PM of Turkey had sent condolences to Tashkent hours earlier – live on television – saying that the Uzbek leader had died.
Suit was soon followed by the Georgian president. The government in Tashkent never recovered consciousness and has released a medical report saying that Mr Karimov suffered a massive stroke last weekend.
Islam Karimov ruled for more than a quarter of a century so his death could well start a battle for power.
People would check who headed the funeral commission for a clue concerning who’d take over, when Soviet leaders died. That could make Mr Mirziyoyev the guy to watch. But, for Uzbekistan, all that is uncertain and unprecedented.