Update: Navalny reported Wednesday morning that he had been allowed to leave the country after paying a 2.1 million ruble court fine that had formally barred him from leaving Russia. The activist insists that he had not been informed of the fine when it was posted on Nov. 9 and has vowed to sue the Federal Court Marshals Service over what he called "illegal actions."
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny reported that border guards in Moscow barred him from leaving Russia early on Tuesday as he prepared to board a plane to attend a European court hearing in Strasbourg.
The anti-corruption activist was released in October after serving two consecutive administrative sentences on charges of staging illegal protests.
“Polite border guards first put me behind a red barrier, then they said that I’m prohibited from leaving the country based on a letter,” Navalny said in a blog post Tuesday.
A screenshot of the police order Navalny posted states that he is barred from leaving Russia based on a Federal Court Marshals Service decision.
Navalny later told the Ekho Moskvy radio station that he has no outstanding debt.
“I immediately checked the bailiff database, but I already know very well that I don’t have any unpaid fines, we monitor this closely,” he said.
He said he had been headed to Strasbourg, France via Frankfurt to attend a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) hearing Thursday in his case against the Russian government over whether his arrests in 2012 and 2014 were politically motivated.
“It’s obvious that’s why they banned me from leaving,” Navalny told Ekho. “It seems very important for the Russian authorities – it’s symbolic for them that I’m not present there.”