Russian officials search Amnesty International Moscow offices as pressure on NGOs mounts

Officials are searching the Russian headquarters of human rights watchdog Amnesty International.

Amnesty's Russia chief Sergei Nikitin told the AP by telephone that officials from the general prosecutor's office and tax police conducted an unannounced audit of his offices Monday. Nikitin said the officials requested documents the government already has on file.

They were accompanied by journalists from the state-controlled NTV station, which has been used by the Kremlin for hatchet jobs against its political foes.

Russian officials have searched up to 2,000 NGOs in the past month, according to Pavel Chikov, a member of the presidential human rights council.

The searches began after President Vladimir Putin gave a speech to the FSB, the KGB's successor agency, in which he urged them to focus attention on groups receiving foreign funding.