November 14, 2018 / 8:19 AM / a month ago

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny flies out of Russia after exit ban lifted

FILE PHOTO: Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny walks out following his release, after 20 days in jail where he was held on charges of staging an illegal protest last month, in Moscow, Russia October 14, 2018. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny was allowed to fly out of Russia on Wednesday to attend the finale of a case he filed at Europe’s top human rights court, a day after border guards stopped him leaving the country.

Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition figure, wants to be in Strasbourg on Thursday when the European Court of Human Rights is due to rule on whether his numerous detentions by police in Russia have been politically-motivated or not.

He was prevented from flying out of Moscow on Tuesday over an unpaid court fine, which he said had been suddenly and illegally enforced as a pretext to stop him traveling abroad.

The Federal Bailiffs Service, which blocked his exit, did not respond to a request for comment regarding Navalny’s allegations that its actions were illegal.

However, it told the TASS news agency on Tuesday evening that it had rescinded the travel ban after Navalny had paid the fine.

The 42-year-old lawyer posted a photograph on social media of himself passing through passport control at a Moscow airport on Wednesday and said he had encountered no problems leaving the country this time.

Reporting by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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