MOSCOW (AP) — A pregnant Russian human rights researcher said Thursday she had received anonymous text messages threatening her life and that of her child, which she believes are linked to her work in the troubled North Caucasus region.
Tanya Lokshina of Human Rights Watch said she suspected that security officials were bugging her telephone and making the threats after she arranged a business trip to Dagestan, a mostly Muslim province of North Caucasus, last week. The unknown authors wrote she would go through "an uneasy 'birth'" and vowed to come after her in Moscow.
The Russian Interior Ministry said it had received a request from Russia's rights ombudsman to investigate Lokshina's claims and would conduct the probe.
Lokshina said the messages contained information that would be impossible to know without security services involvement, such as her due date, her unregistered home address and her relatives' travel plans.
Activists and independent journalists who worked in the volatile North Caucasus region frequently faced kidnapping, threats and even death.
Journalist Anna Politkovskaya, a fierce critic of the Kremlin and its policy of Chechnya, was gunned down in the elevator of her Moscow apartment building in 2006, and activist Natalya Estemirova, who collected evidence of rights abuses by security forces in Chechnya, was abducted in 2009 and found shot dead the same day.