Thousands are blacklisted from entering Latvia, says Interior Minister

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Several thousand people are on the blacklist that prevents them from entering Latvia, Interior Minister Rihards Kozlovskis told LTV January 10. 

The number is variable as there are people blacklisted for three years, after which the decision is reviewed and sometimes changed. Sometimes people are prevented from entering Latvia for just a short time so that they could not attend a specific event, he said. 

He revealed that last year he had signed the decision for preventing 124 people from entering Latvia. 

Most recently, Russian journalist Olga Kurlayeva and her husband Anatoly Kurlayev were sent home from Latvia as they had been blacklisted, possibly in connection with a derogatory film made by Kurlayev about Latvia and NATO in 2015.

"When persons such as these violate a member state's blacklist, they are basically violating the common Schengen law. It could serve as the basis for adding them not only to Latvia's national, but also the European Schengen blacklist," said Kozlovskis. 

After being asked whether there may be any provocations during Latvia's centenary celebration, the minister said that the possibility can't be excluded but that the authorities are dealing with these matters.

"I can only tell you that if there's basis [for blacklisting] and a conclusion, we'll be adding these persons to the list so that they are unable to disturb our centenary celebrations," said Kozlovskis.

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