Locked Up Abroad: What Americans Need To Know

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by sobore, Oct 11, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2011/10/10/what-should-know-about-being-detained-abroad/

    Good reminder of keeping aware of foreign legal code.


    Flight? Check. Hotel? Check. Passport? Check. Review of destination country's legal code? Most of us usually forget that one.
    As reverberations from the American hikers' release from Iran and the reversal of Amanda Knox's murder conviction in Italy ripple through the country, America's fascination with these cases is quickly evolving into some asking what lessons we can learn when traveling, studying or living abroad.
    An estimated 65 million U.S. citizens travel abroad every year. In 2010, there were more than 3,500 U.S. citizen arrests overseas, according to the Bureau of Consular Affairs, and State Department officers made more than 9,500 prison visits.


    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2011/10/10/what-should-know-about-being-detained-abroad/#ixzz1aTEWupUr
     
  2. rwoman
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    rwoman Gold Member

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    Great thing to keep in mind...I'm sure more people may be wondering after the Amanda Knox story...
     
  3. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    Without getting into the particulars of each of the above noted cases....

    Im not sure that reading up on the laws of every place you visit is the right approach... perhaps its better to just be reminded - regardless of where you are from or what passport your carry - that common sense is important if you dont want to get into trouble.....

    Also, if you are a US Citizen, given the special role that the US Government seems to have given itself in the area of International Political Affairs, it is quite clear that folks that carry a US Passport have a different set of considerations that need to be taken into account.

    Iran is openly hostile to the US and its citizens, so if you get yourself into a 'grey area' that can be read the wrong way chances are you will get into hot water.... its like taking photographs in an area where its prohibited, its one thing to do this if you are at the Louvre in Paris and another thing if you are in Somalia, Iran, or Cuba. The political context is important and common sense should normally warn folks about what odds they are looking to face if they choose to push the limits and/or roll the dice.
     
  4. Gardyloo
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    Gardyloo Gold Member

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    I spent a quality afternoon in a (pre-revolutionary) Iranian jail after being arrested (little cop, big gun) for taking a picture of a cute old building in the city where I was working. Turned out the building was occupied by the local detachment of Savak, the Shah's secret police. Oops. Fortunately, when the station chief learned I was working for the provincial governor's office (i.e. the Shah's cousin) I was offered tea and a ride back to my hotel. And saluted.
     
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  5. bonnerbl
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    bonnerbl Gold Member

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    My brother was arrested in Dubai for taking a picture of the emblem on the gate at the British Embassy. The policeman found his actions suspicious and off to jail he went. Fortunate for him he was working at the time on a contract with the government and his manager was able to get him released within a few hours.
     
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  6. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    At least you got some tea!
     
  7. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    So what did I really learn here from this FoxNews article? Don't sneak over the border of North Korea? Don't hang out near the border of Iran? Spend a semester studying the legal system of the country I am about to visit?
     
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  8. Grace
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    Grace Silver Member

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    They forgot the whole "if you run out of money, the last thing you should do is take a package from some random stranger."

    When I watch Locked Up Abroad I'm surprised how many idiots willingly ship drugs or smuggle drugs.
     
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  9. joesmoe
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    joesmoe Gold Member

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    Plus one for common sense.
     
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  10. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    Cameras are not things to play around with..... I was detained in Cuba in the early 90s for taking pictures. The detention lasted less than 15 minutes as I held a Diplomatic passport at that time (no, it was not a US passport), but it was still not a pleasant experience.

    In some situations, a camera can be as problematic as a weapon..... and most folks forget this.
     
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  11. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    Hey... the Savak were like Scotland Yard if you compare them to the current Revolutionary Secret Police, or whatever you want to call them.....
     
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  12. Gaucho
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    Gaucho Gold Member

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    One other important point it that people that travel always tend to overestimate the power that their State Department, Foreign Office and-or embassy is able to do for them. This is true of all nationalities, its not a US thing. I know this from experience... my father is a retired diplomat with over 40 years of service.... and Ive heard many stories first hand, not only from cases that came to his desk, but also from stories that colleagues of his told him that they had to encounter over the years.

    The local diplomats at your native embassy cannot just walk over to where you are detained and have you taken out... there is the "minor" issue of the local country's laws and regulations... so most of the time, the best you can hope for is that if you are in the can for something serious, if you are lucky you will get a short visit from some lower level officer to tell you that there is not much they can do... and that you need to get yourself a local lawyer, etc.

    Unless you or your family have some serious high level connections at your nations State Department, or yours is a case of flagrant human rights abuse or some other high profile case that gets covered in the news, its very very unlikely that your Government will get seriously involved in your legal case.....

    Bottom line.... dont get in trouble with the law away from home... and even less so if you carry a US passport and are in the "wrong" country.....

    I will get off the Soap Box now, gracias.... :oops: :rolleyes: :p
     
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  13. paladin87
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    paladin87 Silver Member

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    Yeah I don't know...a lot of that seems like common sense. I mean, don't go to places that are openly hostile to your home country to begin with, don't get involved in any level of sordid drug/sex fueled weirdness, don't do anything you would not do at home, and...and this one pretty much applies everywhere...don't photograph anything with guards standing out in front.
     
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  14. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Buckingham Palace? ;)

    The one time I got in a bit of trouble was when I took a photo of a store selling ugly blue shirts... and the line of people queued up to buy them. Moscow 1986. Cop across the street didn't like it and told me to take a hike.
     
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