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Khairullo Khamidov
The mother of jailed Uzbek sports journalist Khairulla Khamidov says he will not appeal his conviction to a higher court, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

Khamidov's mother, Muqaddas Khamidova, told RFE/RL that her son told her of his decision during a visit at a Tashkent prison earlier this month. She said he told her there was no hope for an appeal to be successful and that he had therefore decided against it.

Khamidov's mother added that her son is in satisfactory condition and that all family members can meet with him individually. She said that he is due to be transferred to another jail soon.

Meanwhile, Surat Ikromov, a leader of the Independent Group for Human Rights Defenders, told RFE/RL that appeals by people found guilty under Article 244 of the Criminal Code -- establishment and participation in religious extremist groups -- are rarely ever successful. But he added that he thinks Khamidov should still file an appeal.

A court in the town of Gulbakhor, outside of Tashkent, sentenced Khamidov in May to six years in prison after finding him and 18 others guilty of being members of the banned extremist Islamic group Jihadchilar (Jihadists).

Khamidov, 34, is well-known in Uzbekistan for a popular Islamic radio program he hosted, his work as a soccer commentator, and his poetry. His arrest in January sparked a strong wave of protests in Uzbekistan.
Prisoners at work in the gulag during the 1930s
The Russian human rights center Memorial has launched an online "museum" on the history of the Soviet labor and prison camps known as the gulag, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Memorial workers have spent six years going through Russian and international archives for photographs and documents that explain the history of the gulag and what life in the camps was like.

The website currently consists of digitized documents from more than 100 museums.

Project worker Tatyana Pritikina warned that as small museums lose their funding and disappear, the "collective memory of history also disappears."

She said it is impossible to be indifferent to history when looking at the online exhibition. www.gulagmuseum.org

"In the exhibition you see everything -- from the death certificate of a two-month-old baby who died in prison to an aluminum spoon used during a church service in one of the labor camps," Pritikina said.

All entries in the museum are annotated with facts and dates. The virtual museum also lists the locations of mass executions and mass graves.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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