EU Commission: disappeared Chechen singer Bakayev not in Europe

29 September 2017
Zelim Bakayev (Still from the video)

The European Commission has confirmed that disappeared Chechen singer Zelimkhan Bakayev has not entered Europe, according to Russian rights activists.

‘We received a response from the European Commission. Bakayev did not enter Europe’, a source in a Russian rights group working in the North Caucasus and familiar with this case told OC Media.

Activists sent a request to the Commission on 25 September after a video appeared online of Bakayev saying he is in Europe and inviting a man named Islam to visit him there.

‘It is indeed Zelim Bakayev in the video. But the video is staged. We believe that it was shot after the visit of [Russian Human Rights Commissioner] Tatyana Moskalkova to show that Zelim is alive. We still think that it was filmed inside Chechnya, and he did not go anywhere’, said the source.

Friends of the singer also told OC Media they believe the video was staged. According to Mediazona, an energy drink seen in the video is not sold in Germany, and Zelimkhan is sitting on a sofa produced in Russia.

Bakayev disappeared on 8 August in Grozny, where he was attending the wedding of his sister. Activists in the North Caucasus believe the Chechen special services are involved.