The young woman was riding in a taxi to the airport when she decided to make the call. She had just left her home in Russia’s southern Chechnya region — for good, she thought, first on a flight to Moscow to pick up emigration documents and then on a plane out of the country.
But the taxi driver was eavesdropping. And when the woman told her friend she had run away, he locked the car doors and drove her back home, fearing potential consequences for his role in her planned escape.
The 22-year-old woman was a lesbian who claimed that her relatives had beaten and threatened her with death after learning of her sexual orientation. Within a week of the fateful taxi ride, she was dead. Her family says she succumbed to kidney failure. Some who knew her believe she was poisoned; but a close friend rejects that claim, telling RFE/RL that she had indeed suffered from kidney problems.