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Russian Opposition Leader Navalny Lands in Barcelona for Treatment

Alexei Navalny listens in a court room in Moscow, Russia. Pavel Golovkin / AP

Russian opposition leader and presidential candidate Alexei Navalny landed in Barcelona Sunday to receive medical treatment, the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources.

On May 4, Navalny said he had received a passport for foreign travel. But his lawyer later Tweeted that a probation officer had informed Navalny that he shouldn’t leave the country — doing so would violate terms of his parole, in which he was banned from leaving Russia five years ago.

Navalny on May 2 wrote on his blog that he hoped to receive a foreign passport and travel to Switzerland or Spain to receive specialist treatment after an unknown assailant splashed his face with an antiseptic dye known as “brilliant green,” resulting in a chemical burn to his eye.

The attack came on April 27, while Navalny was speaking outside the offices of his Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK). Russian doctors were able to mitigate some of the damage, but it was determined that he would ultimately need foreign treatment to restore his eyesight.

The ban is the result of an ongoing criminal investigation that critics say is politically motivated and intended to discredit and bar him from public office. The same day Navalny received his passport, a Russian appeals court upheld the ruling.

It remains an open question whether or not Navalny will be allowed to run in the 2018 presidential election with a suspended sentence. 

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