Chechen pop star Zelim Bakaev was last seen on August 8, 2017 in Grozny, Chechnya en route to his sister’s wedding. One year later, despite multiple requests, the Russian Investigative Committee has not launched a formal inquiry. On Wednesday (August 8), activist groups around the world staged demonstrations to demand one.
In New York, Voices4 and RUSA LGBT staged a demonstration at the Stonewall National Landmark Park. Organizations in Omaha, Chicago, and in the Netherlands also held rallies calling for an independent investigation into Bakaev’s whereabouts.
Reports first began surfacing in April of 2017 that authorities in Chechnya were detaining, torturing, and even murdering gay men. Kremlin-backed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov repeatedly denied these reports, claiming that there are no gay men living in the predominantly Muslim Russian republic.
Bakaev’s family are unable to get answers about his fate. Human rights experts told NewNowNext they believe Bakaev was killed by authorities, perhaps accidentally as a result of torture.
RALLY Wednesday! In Chechnya our LGBTQIA+ family is still under attack. It will be one year this Wednesday since Zelim Bakaev, queer Chechen pop star, was abducted and we still do not know wether he is dead or alive, his whereabouts or current condition. On Wednesday we are joining @RusaLGBT and activists in the Netherlands @lgbtworldbeside to demand an independent investigation. JOIN US Wednesday 8/8/18 - Stonewall National Monument Park - 6-7:30pm. Link in bio for more. PHOTO @hunterabrams