On Tuesday, January 16, 2017, the Head of the Chechen Republic, Mr. Ramzan Kadyrov, during the course of his council with the representatives of the Ministry of Domestic Affairs and the representatives of the Administration of the Federal Service of the Troops of the National Guard, made an official statement. He raised questions about the disappearance of Zelimkhan Bakaev, about the work of Human Rights Defenders in the republic, and about the arrest of Oiub Tetiev.
During his speech, Kadyrov claimed that it is likely that Bakaev's relatives forced him to return home and "figured it out" themselves. He also said that Bakaev's relatives are now trying to shift responsibility to Kadyrov himself. The Head of the Chechen Republic claimed that he has nothing to do with Zelimkhan's disappearance. He said: "Have you seen that I order that? Have you seen him being arrested? Do you have any evidence of this? Or maybe I was on TV [saying this]? Is there an official order to arrest him? Or maybe the police arrested him? Kadyrov also called the Human Rights Defenders, who work in the republic, corrupted creatures, who has "no place in the Republic".
Referencing Bakaev, Mr. Kadyrov used a pejorative address of a man through effeminizing him. Kadyrov also justified the murder of Bakaev, saying: "Is there not a single man in their village? Do they have any men in the family? They know what their person [a relative] was doing. As if there is nobody to say: "He is ours, we did it, we prosecuted him."
The Russian LGBT Network recorded testimonies that confirm state-sponsored mass persecutions of LGBT people in Chechnya. Among them, there are cases that confirm Zelim Bakaev’s detention based on his (assumed) homosexual orientation. Those, who shared the evidence also the victims of illegal detentions and tortures. During the interrogations, the persecutors questioned them about Zelimkhan’s sexual orientation as well.
The Network considers the events in the Chechen Republic as a crime against humanity, as it is defined in the Roman Statute of the International Criminal Court. The Network also condemns the fact that the Russian Authorities did not initiate any proper investigation of prosecution, persecutions, tortures, and murders, that took place in the Chechen Republic. The Russian LGBT Network yet again demands that the Russian Authorities should immediately institute a criminal investigation into the persecution of people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. The Network demands that the Investigative Committee of Russian Federation should open an investigation of Zelimkhan Bakaev's murder.
The Russian LGBT Network demands that the Government must issue state protection for all the victims of the mass persecution in the Chechen Republic, including their relatives. The Network also asks the President of the Russian Federation, Mr. Vladimir Putin, to publicly address the fact that Ramzan Kadyrov in his speech openly justified the honor killings and insulted and threatened the Human Rights Defenders, who work in Chechnya.
The Network also calls for immediate release of the Head of the Grozny division of the HR Organization “Memorial”, Mr. Oiub Tetiev, who was arrested on the 9th of January.
The Network has the evidence that the series of unlawful detentions and arrest continues. People, who work with the Russian LGBT Network, receive direct threats. The Network will address the Investigative Committee with a demand to initiate criminal proceedings against Ramzan Kadyrov in order to check it for extremism and to initiate a criminal case in relation to the murder of Zelimkhan Bakaev.
Board of the Russian LGBT Network