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article imageOpposition chief Navalny says barred from leaving Russia

By AFP     Nov 13, 2018 in World

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny said Tuesday he was prevented from flying out of Moscow for a European court ruling on whether his recent detentions have been politically motivated.

"Border guards are saying that leaving is forbidden for me," Navalny wrote on Twitter.

"There is some kind of letter that says I am prohibited from leaving, but there is no explanation why."

He said he had planned to board a flight to Frankfurt and on to Strasbourg, where the European Court of Human Rights was expected to deliver the ruling on Thursday.

The politician posted a photo of the document barring him from leaving Russia that showed the ban had been ordered by bailiffs. Under Russian law, those who have unpaid debts can be blocked from leaving the country.

"I have no unpaid fines," Navalny wrote. "The last time I left the country two weeks ago, everything was fine."

He added that his lawyers had called the bailiffs who told them that they did not order the ban.

"We did not receive any official documents on this," Navalny's lawyer Ivan Zhdanov told AFP by phone.

Zhdanov said the document Navalny was given contained spelling mistakes, did not have a date and did not clarify how long the travel ban is in place for.

"We can assume that this decision was thought up on the border itself," he said, adding that Navalny's team will appeal the decision.

The campaigner also posted a photo to Instagram of himself at Moscow's Domodedovo Airport, where he said border guards had taken his passport.

The 42-year-old was released from a Moscow detention centre last month after being sentenced to 20 days for organising anti-Kremlin protests.

He also served a 30-day sentence in September for organising a rally at the start of the year.

Amnesty International described him as a prisoner of conscience and said he had committed no crime.

Navalny came to prominence as an organiser of rallies against President Vladimir Putin that shook Russia in 2011 and 2012 following accusations of vote-rigging in parliamentary polls.

His anti-corruption rhetoric is especially popular with younger people who follow him online.

Navalny was barred from running against Putin in a presidential election in March.

The Yale-educated lawyer has faced a string of charges and attacks since he became the leading opposition figure in Russia.

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