A Russian pop star has allegedly become the latest victim in Chechnya's "gay purge" after reports emerged that he was tortured to death by authorities in the Russian republic.
Russian-Chechen singer Zelimkhan Bakaev, who went missing in August, was tortured and killed in the Chechen capital of Grozny, a source close to activists in the region claimed in an interview with news outlet NewNowNext.
Bakaev was in Grozny to attend his sister's wedding and was reported missing after he failed to show up at a Russian musical contest.
"He arrived in Grozny and was picked up by police within three hours. Within 10 hours he was murdered," the source alleged.
Russian LGBT Network founder Igor Kocketkov recently confirmed that Bakaev had been detained by Chechen authorities, but he did not mention reports that he had been tortured and murdered.
"At the end of August, we received confirmation of our earlier presumption that [Bakaev] was detained by Chechen authorities due to suspicion of homosexuality," Kocketkov said in a statement to the media.
Earlier this week, the first victim of Chechnya's "gay purge", Maxim Lapunov, spoke publicly about how he had been beaten with sticks and threatened by officers after being held for 12 days in a blood-soaked cell.
A total of 27 gay men have fled Chechnya since the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta first reported in April how LGBT people were being detained in World War II-era concentration camps.
They were moved to a safe location along with 52 relatives and partners by the LGBT Network.
One of the men told the BBC that he had received electric shock therapy and said the aim of the operation was to "exterminate" gay men in Chechnya.
After senior European politicians condemned the violence against LGBT individuals in Chechnya, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered law enforcement agencies to investigate "rumours" of abuse in the republic. But activists say the situation has not improved.
"The authorities' excuse was that no victims had made statements," said Tanya Lokshina of Human Rights Watch (HRW). "Now they have one, but there's no investigation. There is a lack of political will."