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Prominent Uzbek Sports Journalist Arrested

TASHKENT -- Prominent Uzbek sports journalist Khairulla Khamidov has been arrested, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

One of Khamidov's relatives told RFE/RL that Khamidov has officially been accused of "creating an illegal religious group and participation in its activities."

Khamidov's wife, Dilnoza, told RFE/RL that police came to their apartment at about 5 a.m. with arrest and search warrants. She said Khamidov's computer, several books, and CDs were confiscated.

Khamidov was arrested and taken to Tashkent's Lunacharsky Interior Ministry jail.

Khamidov, who is among the most famous sports reporters in Uzbekistan, used to work for Uzbek television as a soccer commentator. He gained great popularity after he anchored a series of radio programs called "Among People," which explained the role of Islam in the life of ordinary citizens.

That program became so popular that many Uzbeks were regularly downloading the program on their mobile phones.