"I never was in Minsk : My phone was taken from me two days ago :" These are the actual - and remarkable - words of Nikolai Alekseev, the gay Russian activist and chief organiser of Moscow Pride, who has surfaced somewhere in Russia.
Mr. Alekseev was speaking this evening to a close friend, who is known to UK Gay News from Moscow Gay Pride in May - and who is reliable.
The close friend, who does not want to be identified as he fears for his safety, said he was certain that it was Nikolai Alekseev speaking.
"Nikolai used my nickname when he sent me a SMS, so I was pretty sure it was him," the friend said. "Then I asked a question that only he could answer - and the answer was correct, so I called the number.
"There was no indication that he was being supervised - it was a normal conversation, though short."
Mr. Alekseev was shocked to be told that Interfax Belarus was quoting SMS messages from him, saying he was in Minsk, that he had applied for political asylum in the country and he had withdrawn the cases against the Russian Federation in the European Court of Human Rights.
Mr. Alekseev went on to say that he was 500 kilometres from Moscow and that he was returning to the capital. He hopes to be there tomorrow when he will explain all that has happened.
It was a short call as Mr. Alekseev didn't want to have his whereabouts identified by the authorities.
"I am certain from what Nikolai said that those SMS messages, like those to Interfax, were not send by him," the friend said. "How could he have sent them? His phone had been taken away two days ago."
So part of the "mystery" is solved.
"We will have to wait until Saturday evening to learn of the entire story," the friend added.