Reports have emerged claiming that pop singer Zelimkhan Bakaev has become the latest victim of Chechnya’s anti-gay purge.
The singer reportedly went missing in August, and hasn’t been heard from since by his family and friends.
After fears began to grow for his safety, LGBT+ human rights groups previously thought that Bakaev had been detained.
However, sources now believe the Russian singer, 26, was brutally tortured to death by authorities shortly after his arrival into the country, all because of his sexuality.
“He arrived in Grozny and was picked up by police within three hours. Within ten hours he was murdered,” a source told NewNowNext.
Last week, while speaking at a press conference on Monday (October 16), Russian LGBT Network founder Igor Kocketkov touched upon Bakayev’s disappearance.
He said: “At the end of August, we received confirmation of our earlier presumption that Bakayev was detained by Chechen authorities due to suspicion of homosexuality.”
As questions surrounding Bakayev’s whereabouts mounted, a senior official in Chechnya said that Bakayev was “safe” and would “appear soon”.
A month later, government-controlled media in Chechnya claimed the singer had left the country and was found in Germany after two YouTube videos showed a man resembling Bakayev talking about how much he was enjoying life abroad.
However, doubt has been cast on the video’s legitimacy after some noticed that the room Bakayev was in contains Russian furniture and products not available in Germany, according to RFERL.
Earlier this week, Maxim Lapunov became the first victim of Chechnya’s ‘gay purge’ to come forward publicly with claims of abuse at the hands of authorities.
Igor Kocketkov claimed in Monday’s press conference that other individuals in Chechnya’s entertainment industry were subjected to “torture” as the authorities attempted to gain information on Bakayev.