Criminal counsel for detainees abroad

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Do you have a relative or friend who has been arrested abroad? Do you know what you should do in these cases?

The first thing you should do when having the news that a member of your family or friend has been arrested abroad is to contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country, and inquire about the consular assistance you may be given.

It is necessary to bear in mind that when facing a detention in a foreign country, there may be problems associated with a different culture, language or way of life and in these cases it is always good to emphasize that even if the person is only traveling on this country, this does not exempt him from being subject to the laws and legal procedures of it. This implies that neither the Consulate nor the Embassy can interfere in these procedures of foreign criminal law, nor revoke a sentence already passed, but at the same time, it can guarantee counseling and attention, especially in poor-condition cases.

How can the person who has been arrested abroad know what his rights are?

The rights of a person arrested abroad will depend on the laws of the country where he has been arrested. In any case, you should always ask the authorities to be informed of the reason for your arrest and explain the rights you have (preferably in your language), avoiding signing any blank document or in an unfamiliar language. The detainee should be aware that the most important thing after the arrest will always be to obtain the services of a competent lawyer and notify his Embassy and his family, in order to ensure that the respective legal actions are taken.

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How can the detainee hire a criminal lawyer to represent him if he does not know anyone who can provide these services in the country where he is?

To designate the lawyer who will represent the detainee there will basically be two fundamental options. The first will be for the detainee or his representatives to choose legal counseling from the list of specialized lawyers that the Consular Office of his country can provide. The second option will be to consider that practically in all the countries of the world there are public defenders, which are a free legal counseling for those who do not have the economic means to afford private legal counseling.

What are the useful actions that the Consular Office can take for your family member or friend?

The Consular Offices, always in accordance with the laws of the country where the detainee is located, may notify their relatives of the arrest and, in the case of deprivation of liberty, they may ensure that the treatment that the detainee will receive will be at least equal to that received by the nationals of the country in question, they will collaborate so that the authorities of the country allow the detainee to communicate with their relatives or friends, they will have the possibility to deliver or receive his correspondence, they will be authorized to ask the local authorities for information related to his case, they will be able to provide him with reading material, they will monitor the prisoner's health status and they will ensure that the penal institution provide him with adequate food and medical services, and even, as far as possible, support the detainee by providing him with help to cover his basic needs (food, medicine, etc.) when the prison facility where he is unable to do so.

Could it happen that the Consular Office refused to provide any kind of help to our family member or friend when we ask?

English Speaking Italian Attorneys

There are actions that the Consular Offices, by law, cannot undertake. For example: paying fines or compensation imposed by foreign authorities because of the detainee by charging them to public funds; attend the sessions of the trials that are carried out, recommend a specific lawyer, have the detainee receive objects not authorized by the prison facility regulations, manage the accommodation of the relatives or friends of the detainee who wish to visit him, or any other action that goes against the laws of the country in which the detainee is.

Can we visit our relative or friend if he or she has been arrested abroad? What should we do for it?

If you wish to visit a family member or friend who is arrested abroad, we advise you to inform the respective Consular Office, in a way that this Office can provide you with the data that may be useful for your trip, your stay in the country and the requirements to visit to the penal institution in which the person to be visited is imprisoned.

It is important to remind you that regardless of what part of the world we are, we have the right to justice.

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