Chechen leader suggests missing pop star was murdered by his own family

Chechen pop star Zelimkhan Bakaev has been missing since August 2017, and its long been believed that he was detained and possibly killed as part of Chechyna’s violent purge of gay men.

The country’s leader has now accused the singer’s own family of murdering him, suggesting that they were ashamed of having a gay person in their family.

Appearing on a television program this week the country’s leader Ramzan Kadyrov said it was probably Bakaev’s own family who killed him.

“His relatives, who didn’t keep an eye on him and were ashamed that he was one of them, now say that [I] took him,” he told a TV audience. “His family couldn’t stop him, and then called him back home, and his brothers, it seems, accused him of being one of those [homosexuals].”

The Chechen leader said surely one of his family members, or someone from his village could come forward and admit they had been responsible.

The singer’s family have denied any involvement.

The region has just been hit by a new range of sanctions from the USA following widespread reports that gay men were being rounded up, tortured and murdered because of their sexuality. In recent weeks reports have emerged suggesting that people struggling with drug addiction are also been imprisoned and tortured.

Last year, when news of the purge was first reported by a Russian newspaper, a spokesperson for the President said there could be no truth to the reports of detainment and torture because there were no gay people in the region.

The official government spokesperson said Chechen people would never tolerate having gay people in their families.

“You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic,” the spokesman, Alvi Karimov, said.

“If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they could never return.”

OIP Staff

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