148 foreigners were imprisoned last year-end

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There were 148 foreign prisoners in Latvia's prisons in late 2016, up from 41 a few years ago. As some of them come from exotic destinations like Vietnam, there are difficulties with following human rights regulations, reported Latvian Radio.

56 people from Vietnam and three from Bangladesh are held in Latvia's prisons for illegally crossing the border, said Ilona Špure, the head of the Latvian Prison Administration.

Ombudsman representative Ineta Piļāne said that, in interviewing inmates prior to deporting them, it was discovered that neither inmates, nor prison workers are able to communicate with them as most of them don't speak international languages. 

Due to the lack of interpreters - there are only two Vietnamese interpreters in Latvia - Latvia uses translated documents, sign language and tablets to communicate the inmates about their rights and prison rules. They were also informed over applying for a visit to a doctor or chaplain.

Immigrants from Vietnam trying to make it into Europe are routinely caught on Latvia's borders and imprisoned prior to being deported. 

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