Sources are reporting that Russian singer Zelimkhan Bakaev was arrested, tortured, and murdered by by Chechen authorities due to suspicion of homosexuality.”
Bakaev was last seen on August 8 in Grozny, where he had come from Moscow for his sister’s wedding
Bakaev’s Instagram account has mysteriously been deleted, but a small Twitter account in his name remains active, offering no recent updates. Earlier this week, Igor Kocketkovof the Russian LGBT Network made a statement to the media that touched on the disappearance, saying:
At the end of August, we received confirmation of our earlier presumption that [Bakaev] was detained by Chechen authorities due to suspicion of homosexuality.”
A source close to activists in the region have stated that Bakaev, 26, was tortured to death. “He arrived in Grozny and was picked up by police within three hours,” they claimed. “Within ten hours he was murdered.”
Earlier this week, Maxim Lapunov became the first victim of Chechnya’s ‘gay purge’ to come forward publicly with claims of abuse at the hands of authorities.
Igor Kocketkov claimed in Monday’s press conference that other individuals in Chechnya’s entertainment industry were subjected to “torture” as the authorities attempted to gain information on Bakayev.
Our hearts break for the family and friends of Zelimkhan Bakaev and to the LGBT community of Russia and Chechnya.
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