What to Do if You Get in Trouble in Another Country

User Rating: 0 (0 votes)

Whenever traveling to a country outside the United States, it is important to have your passport and visas and other travel documents all current.  Be aware that the laws and customs of the country you are traveling to are not the same as in the US. Without knowing the rules that govern the country, it is easy to offend someone or possibly break the law, which might land you in trouble overseas. Therefore, it is important to know what to do if detained or arrested in another country so you can safely travel back to the United States and not be harmed.  Before leaving it is a good idea to give a friend or family member a copy of your travel itinerary including contact information of the places you are staying while traveling.

Get in Trouble in Another Country

Contact the Nation’s U.S. Embassy or Consulate

If you registered your trip with the US State Department before you left on your journey, it will be easier for the US Embassy to help you.  The first important step to take if you get arrested in a foreign country is to contact the U.S. Embassy in that country or have the Embassy notified.  Once the U.S. government knows that you have been arrested overseas, they will be able to take the first steps to help you. There is an international treaty in place that states that you have to ask your captors to contact the embassy on your behalf. If you don’t ask, the U.S. government doesn’t have to help you.

Once the State Department has been contacted, they can begin the effort to secure your freedom. Some of the steps that they will take on your behalf, if they are able to, include arranging for proper medical care, ensuring that you are being treated humanely, and letting your family know about your situation. Of course, not every captor will adhere to the international treaty concerning their foreign prisoners, so there are a few other steps that you should take just in case you are unable to get in touch with the embassy.

Don’t Sign Anything

Often, when you are put in prison overseas, your captors may ask you to sign a report, detailing the circumstances surrounding your arrest, and explaining that you have been put into prison for a designated amount of time. However, if you sign something while overseas, you may end up landing yourself in even more trouble and being unable to secure a safe passage home. Therefore, if you are asked to sign something while being detained, it is important that you respectfully decline until the document in question can be reviewed by a local attorney or an embassy representative.

Don’t Accept Visitors without Proper I.D.

There have been times where prisoners received notice that someone was there to visit them. Upon accepting the admittance of such visitor to his or her quarters, the prisoner has often been captured by someone else and taken to another location. Therefore, anyone who is being held in a foreign prison should ask for I.D.

Remain Calm

While you are being arrested, you should remain calm. Do not act belligerent or say anything about the government or politics of the country you are in, or else you might end up in even worse trouble than before. Do not try to start an argument, but rather, just go peacefully with your captors. Once you have been detained, you can then ask them to explain to you the circumstances surrounding your arrest in a language that you understand.

Fully Explain the Situation to your Family

If your family, lawyer or even a friend with a criminal justice degree is granted the opportunity to come visit you, it is important that you explain the situation fully to them. Provide them with every last detail about your arrest and imprisonment, the conditions in which you are being held, the environment around you, and more. If they have this information, they may be able to work in conjunction with government officials to ensure that you are brought back home safely and in a reasonable amount of time.

If you have been arrested overseas, it is important that you know what your rights are, and how to secure safe passage back home. Therefore, if possible, you should follow all the steps outlined above so that you can maintain your safety and get out of trouble as quickly as possible. Remember, it is up to you to seek the help of your government. It is also your job to be respectful and not take any further negative action against the nation in which you are being held before you talk to someone from the U.S.

1 Comment

  1. Luis Mier  /  August 16, 2013, 5:13 am

    Thanks alot for sharing this informative blog. Indeed one should know about the legalities when traveling in a foreign country.

Comments are now closed on this post.