A Russian singer who has been missing since August is now feared to have been detained by authorities and sent to an anti-gay concentration camp in Chechnya.
Zelimkhan Bakaev was last seen on August 8 in the Chechen capital Grozny, and his family has been unable to get answers from authorities about happened to him.
At a press conference on Monday, which featured a victim of the anti-gay purge in Chechnya giving details about his horrifying experience, Russian LGBT Network founder Igor Kochetkov brought up the mystery of Bakaev’s disappearance.
“At the end of August, we received confirmation of our earlier presumption that Bakaev was detained by Chechen authorities due to suspicion of homosexuality,” Kochetkov said.
— Human Rights First (@humanrights1st) August 31, 2017
The announcement marked the first time that the 26-year-old’s disappearance was publicly linked to the abuse of gay men in Chechnya.
Kochetkov alleged that Bakaev was captured as part of a new wave of detentions in Chechnya that are currently targeting gay men in the entertainment industry.
A YouTube video of a man that resembled Bakaev was picked up by the government-controlled media in Chechnya last month, according to RFERL. The man claimed to be the singer and said he was in Germany, but the background of the video contained Russian furniture and a Russian energy drink that is not sold in Germany.
Chechnyan officials have denied knowing anything about Bakaev, and have instead suggested that he simply left the country.