Family and friends of Zelimkhan Bakaev are starting to fear the worst. The Russian singer, who went missing after being detained in Grozny on Aug. 8, is now suspected to have been murdered from the anti-gay purge occurring in Chechnya.
“We received confirmation of our earlier presumption that Bakayev was detailed by Chechen authorities due to suspicion of homosexuality,” Russian LGBT Network founder Igor Kochetko said in a press conference last week.
Bakaev, 26, was in Grozny for his sister’s wedding when he was reportedly taken to a detention camp from government officials. The singer’s family hasn’t seen him or been able to contact him ever since.
Activists in the region have now told NewNowNext that the family’s worst nightmare may have come true.
“He arrived in Grozny and was picked up by police within three hours,” they claimed. “Within ten hours he was murdered.”
In a press conference last week where a victim came forward to reveal the horrors of the detention camps in Chechnya, Kochetko discussed Bakayev’s disappearance.
“We received confirmation of our earlier presumption that Bakayev was detained by Chechen authorities due to suspicion of homosexuality,” Kochetko said.
Government officials have denied knowing the whereabouts of Bakayev, stating that the singer simply left the country. CrimeRussia reported back in September that the singer had contacted his family on WhatsApp stating he "urgently needs to go to Canada and back.” However, the number quickly became unavailable.
Authorities have also released a YouTube video of a man suspected to be Bakayev in Germany.
In the video the man states, “There is absolutely nothing to do in Grozny or Moscow. Because there are a lot of assholes. Here people are absolutely different – you go out, everyone smiles at you. Absolutely different outlook.”
However, friends of Bakayev have stated that the video released by government-controlled media in Chechnya is a fraud, due to their being Russian artifacts seen in the video, that are not found in Germany.