Alexei Navalny allowed to leave Russia to attend ECHR case | News | DW | 13.11.2018
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Alexei Navalny allowed to leave Russia to attend ECHR case

The Russian opposition leader was given permission to leave Russia for Europe after being barred. He is planning to attend the European Court of Human Rights for a hearing.

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was granted permission to leave the country on Tuesday after authorities initially blocked his departure.

The oft-arrested politician was attempting to fly from Moscow to Frankfurt, Germany to attend a hearing at Strasbourg's European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) when he was stopped at Domodedovo airport.

The ECHR is ruling on whether his frequent detentions at the hands of Russian authorities were politically motivated and whether they were legal. 

Navalny's close colleague Vladimir Milov told DW that the decision to stop him leaving was anticipated, and meant to stop him speaking on the international stage.

Opposition politician Milov told DW the Kremlin "doesn't want him to give powerful speeches on serious international platforms in the West. I think that is the main reason why they didn't allow him to leave today. They don't want him to give a powerful speech in the European Court for Human Rights, which he is capable of doing."

Read more: Alexei Navalny: The opposition leader captivating Russia's youth

Navalny pays €27,500 to leave

Milov said the excuse of supposedly unpaid court dues by Navalny was bogus and concocted to curtail his rights.

"It seems this was a punishment that lay dormant — it wasn't concrete and they were saving it especially for a case like this, for example to block him from going abroad. From Navalny's side there wasn't any violation."

Russian authorities said they lifted Navalny's travel ban on Tuesday after the sum of 2.1 million rubles (€27,500, $31,000) was paid to the bailiff's service. The payment related to a lawsuit against a timber company he lost last year.

Navalny was long the subject of a travel ban in Russia but that was officially lifted last year when he traveled to Spain for emergency eye treatment after an attack.

aw/jm (AFP, Reuters)

DW's Emily Sherwin contributed to this report from Moscow.

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