Singer Believed To Have Been Murdered In Chechnya's 'Anti-Gay Purge,' According To Report
A popular Chechen singer "reportedly arrested as part of Chechnya’s anti-gay crackdown was murdered," a source tells NewNowNext.
Igor Kochetkov, founder of the Russian LGBT Network, linked Zelimkhan Bakayev's disappearance to the campaign during a Moscow press conference on October 16.
Bakayev, whose family says he was last seen on August 8 in Chechnya's capital, Grozny, appears to have been swept up in a fresh wave of a crackdown in the region on gay men and those suspected of being gay, Kochetkov said.
Reports of the roundups have alarmed Western officials, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron, who raised the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this year. Chechnya's Kremlin-backed leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, has called the reports "lies."
"At the end of August, we received confirmation of our earlier presumption that Bakayev was detained by Chechen authorities due to suspicion of homosexuality," Kochetkov told the news conference.
The source also alleges that Bakaev, 26, was tortured to death stating that, “He arrived in Grozny and was picked up by police within three hours. Within ten hours, he was murdered.”
Late last month, a video of a man who claimed to be Bakaev surfaced on the internet. Rights activists, however, believe the video to be fake.
With heavy hearts we share this news. Our thoughts go out to Zelimkhan Bakayev's loved ones.