April 24, 2024

Kadyrov Personally Ordered Murder of Gay Pop Star Zelimkhan Bakaev: Report

A popular Chechen singer long believed to have been killed as part of a “gay purge” in the Russian Republic was tortured and executed on Ramzan Kadyrov’s orders after the strongman leader was “personally offended” by his sexuality, according to a new report.

Zelimkhan Bakaev, 25, was living in Moscow and popular outside the North Caucasus region when he disappeared in August 2017 after returning home to attend his sister’s wedding. Human rights groups raised the alarm at his disappearance, warning that he was likely targeted as part of an anti-gay purge underway in the predominantly Muslim region.

But Chechen officials claimed that he fled to Europe, and suggested Kadyrov, sometimes called “Putin’s soldier” for his flamboyant defense of the president, Bakaev was killed by family members who were “ashamed” of his sexuality.

Now, the NC SOS Crisis Group, a human rights organization that helps the LGBTIQ+ community in the North Caucasus, reports that Chechen security services tasked Bakaev with determining whether he was gay or not. An unnamed source close to Kadyrov was quoted as describing how the Chechen leader, when he learned of Bakaev’s sexuality, took it as a personal insult, as he and Bakaev had previously shaken hands and posed for a photo together. He responded by ordering his security forces to “deal” with the young singer, according to the report.

Bakaev was allegedly tortured before being killed. His body was handed over to his family, and authorities told them to “bury him like a dog,” according to the NC SOS Crisis Group.

Bakaev’s disappearance and presumed murder have sparked widespread international attention and calls for Russia to come to grips with what happened to him, and after mounting pressure, Chechnya’s state television contacted two YouTubers who were clearly staging it. videos as proof that he was alive and well in Germany.

A few months later, in January 2018, Kadyrov went public on his strange rhymes in which he appeared to confirm that Bakaev was dead and offered a detailed description of his murder – claiming that it was carried out by the singer’s own family.

“They told him to ‘come over,’ and when he came, apparently his cousins ​​or second cousins ​​confronted him and said, ‘You’re gay.’ … they knew what their relatives were doing. Is there no one in the village, no man in the family, who can admit: ‘We did this?’ They know very well who their relative is,” Kadyrov said, before calling Bakaev a “creature”.

Khussein Bakaev, Zelimkhan’s father, denied Kadyrov’s claims in comments to Russia’s RFE/RL Service, saying: “None of his relatives laid a finger on him, and there was no reason to lay a finger on him.”

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