An imam at a Dushanbe mosque, who was arrested in April on extremism charges after he called a late Islamic cleric "one of the great leaders of the country," has been released from custody, according to Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service, known locally as Radio Ozodi.

A police official in Vahdat Township told Radio Liberty on June 21 that Abdulhaq Obidov (aka Makhsumi Abdulhaq) had been released.  Two men arrested along with the cleric, Aziz Turkov and Ahmadkhoja Tabarov, were also let go.

According to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to journalists, Obidov was relieved of his imam duties.  RFE/RL says it is not clear whether the charges against Obidov were dropped or not.

Tajik authorities said in April that Obidov was arrested on suspicion of being a follower of the Salafi group that is labeled as extremist organization and banned in Tajikistan. 

Media reports at the time said that Obidov was detained several days after delivering a speech at the burial ceremony of a well-known Islamic cleric, Domullo Hikmatullo Tojikobodi.  During the speech, he called Tojikobodi a great leader of Tajikistan, which some authorities considered to be a direct questioning of the official title of President Emomali Rahmon, who, in accordance with a 2016 law, is officially known as the Leader of the Nation.

The State Committee on Religious Affairs, Traditions, and Rites rejected the media reports at the time, saying that Obidov's arrest had nothing to do with his speech at the funeral and called on media "to stay away from distributing rumors."