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Latvian Court Rejects Russian Singer Kobzon's Appeal Of Entry Ban

Latvia's Constitutional Court has refused to consider an appeal by Iosif Kobzon, a prominent singer and ruling-party lawmaker in Russia's parliament, against a ban that bars him from entering the Baltic nation.

Constitutional Court spokeswoman Liga Paulina told journalists on January 13 that Kobzon's appeal had been rejected on that day because he had failed to show that his rights had been violated.

Kobzon had appealed the ban on December 15.

In July, Latvia added Kobzon and two other prominent Russian singers, Oleg Gazmanov and Valeria, to a blacklist of foreigners barred from entering the country -- a former Soviet republic that is now a NATO member and has tense ties with Moscow.

The three singers have publicly supported pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine last year. They have been declared persona non grata in Ukraine.

The ban prevented them from performing at an annual song festival that has been held in the Latvian resort city of Jurmala since the Soviet era.

Based on reporting by BNS and TASS