The famous Chechen singer Zelimkhan Bakayev disappeared on August 8, 2017. His close friends are sure that he was kidnapped by the security forces and was kept in a secret prison.
Ten days later, his mother, Malika Bakaeva, filed a complaint with the police asking for help in the search, but this did not bring results.
Dzhambulat Umarov, who was then Minister for National Policy, called the reports of Bakaev’s disappearance “nonsense”. He said that the singer would appear “after a while.” Umarov did not specify where Bakaev is.
On September 24, Grozny State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company published on its website information that Bakaev was in Germany. As proof, the site of the state channel posted a video with the singer. On this video of Bakaev, who allegedly left for another country, journalists found furniture and a drink sold only in Russia. Also, human rights activists received a response from the European Commission, which confirmed that the singer did not enter Europe.
Bakaev’s mother Malika told the Caucasus.Realiyam how the search for her son is progressing. In short, no encouraging news.
- Has there been any clue in your son’s case?
- No, there was not a single message from Zelim. I was sick for a long time, I was diagnosed with an oncological disease. Analyzes, examinations, therapy courses, rehabilitation period – I spent a lot of time in different clinics. At times, after the procedures, I was not able to go out somewhere. Then this epidemic of coronavirus, quarantine …
After a long illness, we buried Zelim’s grandfather and grandmother. My mother went to bed too. Zelim’s disappearance crippled everyone. I work in a confectionery shop for a friend of mine, sometimes I can’t find the strength to go to work, but my employer calls every time and pulls me out. “You better be in public,” she says. So I live.
- What do the investigators say?
- “They probably already closed his case. I am waiting for the pandemic to subside to pay them a visit. “Don’t worry, we will definitely find it,” they always answered me. They sympathized with my grief. True, I have not called them for a long time, have not visited them.
- Zelim was a public person. He had friends, fans. During all this time, none of them saw him, did not communicate with him?
- For a very long time, his friends have not contacted me. It hurts me very much if I meet someone of his acquaintances somewhere. At first, when Zelim disappeared, a lot of people wrote to me, called, supported in every possible way. Not anymore. I understand them, they are afraid to hurt me, to reopen my wound. Nobody told me they saw him. However, many people recognize me on the street, come up and tell me how good Zelim was. I am glad when passers-by say a warm word about my son. He was a very kind son. He spent most of his time with me. Never made me worry about him. He always had good intentions. Of course, it’s not nice for a mother to publicly praise her child, but I knew him like no one else. Because of him and for his sake, I endured a lot in my life. The Almighty knows what I am talking about. I withstood a lot to be separated from my children.
- Neither in Chechnya, nor in Russia, your son’s business has not gotten off the ground. Have you thought about seeking justice in the European Court of Human Rights?
- No, I didn’t think about it. I believe that my son’s case will be properly investigated here.
- But how much longer to wait?
- Everything in due time, my son’s turn will come. I am sure that the local authorities will deal with it, they will still find it.
- After Zelim disappeared, do you still have any doubts, remorse, regret, remorse about something?
- If I start talking about it, I will allow myself to go too far. It is impossible to express the whole soul.
- Zelim left a lot of good songs. Are you listening to them?
- No, I never listen to them.
- I keep his photographs in front of my eyes, but I don’t listen to the songs. It hurts me, I can’t …
- In 2017, the Chechen TV channel published information that Zelim was in Germany, and a video was even shown as evidence. Have you tried to find out where that video came from, how did it get to them?
- “I swear I don’t know. I would be calm even if it turned out to be so. I have been on television, but they also told me: “Do not worry, we will find, we will find out everything.”
- And you?
- I continue to wait for my son, I can’t throw him out of my heart like that. I live with this expectation.
In September 2017, Malika turned to the head of Chechnya, Razman Kadyrov, for help. She asked him to help find her son. There was no reaction from the administration of the head of the region then.
Later, after numerous publications about the disappearance of the singer, in January 2018, Kadyrov accused the Bakaev family of his murder because of the possible homosexuality of the young man: “Relatives who did not follow, who were ashamed to admit that he had them, now say that Kadyrov took them [Zelimkhan] What evidence? The family could not stop him, and then they called him home, and his cousins or second cousins, apparently, presented that he was this one … Do they really have no one in the village, there are no men in the family to admit – “We did it? They know very well who their relative is.”
To this, Khusein Bakayev, the father of the disappeared, replied: “Nobody took him home, he is a normal person, and not what they want to make him in the eyes of the public. Nobody in the family touched him. And there was nothing to touch.”
The investigation into the Bakaev case was carried out by the department of the TFR in Chechnya. To get any comments from them Kavkaz. The realities failed.