A native of Tajikistan and a former university teacher in Australia, Abdusalom Odinazoda, has been released after serving a 3 ½ - year prison sentence for inciting terrorism, Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service reported on June 23.

Abdusalom Odinazoda confirmed in an interview on June 23 with RFE/RL that his sentence concluded on June 19.  He was released on June 22.

Australian authorities reportedly alleged that Odinazoda had shared numerous videos on his YouTube channel between January 2019 and his arrest at the end of 2020 in which he advocated for the overthrow of the Tajik government and the establishment of a caliphate.

Odinazoda told RFE/RL that authorities investigated 16 of his videos and concluded they contained “terrorist propaganda.”

Court records indicate that Odinazoda extensively discussed the influence of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Syria.  These videos garnered more than 1.6 million views, largely from people located in Russia and Tajikistan.

Odinazoda at the time of his sentencing in August 2022 was considered by the authorities in Western Australia to be one of the state’s most dangerous people.

He was due to stand trial on three charges in 2023, but prosecutors dropped two of the charges after Odinazoda agreed to plead guilty to one count of inciting terrorism.

In the interview with RFE/RL, Odinazoda did not fully accept the accusation that he incited terrorism, but he admitted to having crossed a “red line” at that time.

Odinazoda stated his intention to continue his activities on social networks but expressed a commitment to exercising greater caution.

Odinazoda emigrated to Australia years ago and obtained citizenship. He briefly returned to Tajikistan for work but subsequently returned to Australia.

Recall, ABC News reported on August 26, 2022 that Odinazoda was sentenced to 3½ years in prison for promoting terrorism on Youtube.  

Odinazoda was found guilty of posting videos on his Youtube channel from January 2019 until his arrest in December 2020, in which he called on Muslims to overthrow the government and create a caliphate in Tajikistan. He also praised the Afghan Taliban and «Islamic State» militants.

At the trial, it was said that videos with calls for terrorism on the convict's channel scored 1.6 million views, 78% of which were views from Russia, and 12% - for users from Tajikistan.

Odinazoda reportedly came to the attention of the Australian federal authorities in February 2020.  After the first interrogations, Odinazoda promised to close his YouTube channel, but six months later he began posting videos on it again.  Because of this, he was formally charged and sent to custody.  Earlier it was reported that Odinazoda pleaded guilty to inciting extremist attacks abroad.  It was noted that, taking into account the period spent under arrest, Odinazoda could be released as early as August 2023.

Abdusalom Odinazoda is sought in Tajikistan on charges of "extremism."