Head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov has denied any involvement in the disappearance of singer Zelimkhan Bakaev. Kadyrov has suggested the singer was ‘dealt with by his family’.
The Moscow-based Bakaev went missing in August 2017 after going to back to Chechnya for his sister’s wedding. Friends claimed men wearing military outfits detained Bakaev in the capital Grozny.
Since his disappearance observers have been concerned he was kidnapped and murdered under the Chechen anti-gay purge.
Since December 2016, a large number of men have been detained, tortured and executed on ‘suspicion of homosexual activity’
Since Bakaev’s disappearance, Chechen officials have kept quiet on the issue refusing to confirm any involvement or even to begin an investigation.
But earlier this week Kadyrov addressed the singer’s disappearance during a meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Office of the Federal Service for the Protection of Human Rights (FSVNG).
Kadyrov said that it was most likely Bakaev was summoned home and dealt with by his relatives. Kadyrov said his family were now trying to shift responsibility onto him.
‘Did you see that I gave the order?’ he said during the meeting.
‘Have you seen him detained? Do you have at least any proof to say so? Or ordered him to be detained? Or did the police detain him? ”
Kadyrov who once denied the existence of gay people in Chechnya, questioned the existence of ‘men’ in Badaev’s family and justified his murder because of his alleged sexuality.
‘Is there not a single man in their village? Do they have any men in the family? They know what their person [Badaev] was doing [alleged homosexuality],’ Kadyrov said.
‘As if there is no one to say: “He is ours, we did it, we pursued him.”.’
In July 2017 Kadyrov told HBO’s Real Sports that he approved of families killing their children if they believe they are gay.
Confirmed detention because of homosexuality
The Russian LGBT Network has gathered evidence proving Bakaev was detained because of ‘suspicions of homosexual orientation’.
The Network obtained the evidence from other men who had been illegally detained and questioned.
These men confirmed that authorities had asked them about Bakaev and his sexuality.
It has called for the immediate launch of criminal cases for all people involved in the persecution of people in Chechnya on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Russian LGBT Network also called for criminal investigation into the possible killing of Bakaev .
It said it has proof illegal detentions in Chechnya continue. Staff at the Network have been directly threatened for their investigations in the Chechen persecuttion.