An unsettling rumor emerged over the weekend after multiple blogs claimed Russian pop star Zelimkhan Bakaev was tortured and killed during an “anti-gay purge” in Chechnya. It’s unknown if there is any veracity to the claims, but some people on Twitter started to mourn the death of Bakaev — even though there isn’t enough information to confirm his possible killing.

NewNowNext.com is one of the LGBT websites talking about Bakaev. He was last seen in Gronzy August 8 after he came back from his sister’s wedding in Moscow. The singer’s family reportedly has heard from him since and doesn’t know if he’s alive.

Russian LGBT Network founder Igor Kochetkov addressed Bakaev’s disappearance for the first time at a press conference Monday, which featured an appearance from a victim of the anti-gay purge.

“We received confirmation of our earlier presumption that Bakayev was detained by Chechen authorities due to suspicion of homosexuality,” he said.

While there isn’t any official confirmation, a source said the 26-year-old star was tortured to death. “He arrived in Grozny and was picked up by police within three hours,” an insider told NewNowNext. “Within ten hours he was murdered.”

Gay Rights Russia An unsettling rumor emerge over the weekend after multiple blogs claimed Russian pop star Zelimkhan Bakaev was tortured and killed during an “anti-gay purge” in Chechnya. Photo: Getty Images

Authorities reportedly were not worried about Bakayev, claiming he likely left the country.

Bakaev’s Instagram account was reportedly deactivated. When searching for his page, the following message from IG comes up: “Sorry, this page is not available. The link you follow may be broken or the page may have been removed.”

It should be noted there are some reports that Bakaev fled to Germany, though there is no verification. There’s a video of the singer talking about his new life in Germany, though some people doubt it’s real.

“There is absolutely nothing to do in Grozny or Moscow. Because there are a lot of a--holes. Here people are absolutely different — you go out, everyone smiles at you. Absolutely different outlook,” Bakaev supposedly says on the video.

The Chechnyan government has reportedly been rounding up gay men since early this year and torturing them. Maxim Lapunov, one of the victims of the apparent cleanse, reported his experience to Russian authorities, Human Rights Watch reported Wednesday.

According to Lapunov, he was beaten and confined to a dark room for 12 days in March. He didn’t think he was going to survive and when he was finally released he “could barely crawl” from the alleged abuse.

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