Arrested abroad?  Who to call first

Arrested abroad? Who to call first

According to the U.S. State Department, more than 2,500 Americans are arrested abroad annually.  Each country has different rules and systems for handling arrested persons.  Some countries follow their laws closely, others do not.  PRI provides information on different country laws and how they are applied. But who do you call first if you are a U.S. citizen detained abroad?  Assuming you get a phone call or two (we hope that you do), here are some basic guidelines on how to let others know of your situation: Tell the U.S. Department of State.  Their American Citizen Services representatives can visit you or try to help you get legal counsel.  If you don’t get a phone call, at least ask the prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate immediately that you are in jail.  The State Department will probably not provide you with any legal advice or try to get you out of jail, but at least they will be able to provide information to your family if contacted and they may also be able to assist you if the prison conditions are poor.  They may also be able to help you find a lawyer.  We have found that the State Department will not be especially interested in the merits of your case or the charges against you – focus on having the State Department help get your basic needs met.  You may find an officer with a sympathetic ear, but it is unlikely he or she will actually assist in proving your innocence. Here is a list of U.S. Embassies and Consulates The State Department also provides...
Millions Held in Pretrial Detention

Millions Held in Pretrial Detention

In June last year the International Centre for Prison Studies published an updated report tallying the number of pretrial detainees worldwide.  Hold onto your hats, the number is astronomical: two and a half million people.  The Open Society Foundation estimates this number to be even higher – somewhere in the ballpark of 3.3 million. These high numbers show the vast impact of Pretrial Rights International’s drive to promote the international human rights laws that demand due process and respect for personal liberties.  Visit our Country Profiles page for laws and local resources within individual countries.  We’re adding to this list all the time so check back often.  And if you need help regarding a country that is currently not listed, please feel free to send us a message at...