Arrest of a U.S. Citizen

Arrest: If you are arrested you should request to speak with a representative of the American Embassy. The phone number is 261-20-23-480-00. This number is manned 24 hours/day, and the receptionist will put you or local authorities in contact with the Embassy staff. If you cannot reach the Embassy, try to contact someone locally who can attempt to reach the Embassy. You can access a list of English speaking attorneys in Madagascar here.

The list of English speaking lawyers in the Comoros is available here (PDF 5 KB)

The Department of State is committed to ensuring fair and humane treatment for U.S. citizens imprisoned overseas. We stand ready to assist incarcerated citizens and their families within the limits of our authority in accordance with international law, domestic and foreign law.

Avoid getting arrested overseas by:

  • Following the laws and regulations of the country you are visiting or living in.
  • Learning about laws there which might be different from the laws in the United States. We provide some information for each country on our Country Specific pages.  For further information on laws within the foreign country before you go, contact that country’s nearest embassy or consulate within the United States.

If you are arrested overseas or know a U.S. citizen who is:

  • Ask the prison authorities to notify the U.S. Embassy or Consulate
  • You may also wish to reach out to the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to let us know of arrest.  Contact information for U.S. Embassies and Consulates  overseas can be found  by going to our individual Country Specific Information pages.

Consular Assistance to U.S. Prisoners:

When a U.S. citizen is arrested overseas, he or she may be initially confused and disoriented.  It can be more difficult because the prisoner is in unfamiliar surroundings, and may not know the local language, customs, or legal system.

 We can help:

  • Provide a list of local attorneys who speak English
  • Contact family, friends, or employers of the detained U.S. citizen with his/her written permission
  • Visit the detained U.S. citizen regularly and provide reading materials and vitamin supplements, where appropriate
  • Help ensure that prison officials are providing appropriate medical care for him/her
  • Provide a general overview of the local criminal justice process
  • Inform the detainee of local and U.S.-based resources that may be available to assist victims of crime
  • If they would like, ensuring that prison officials are permitting visits with  a member of the clergy of the religion of him/her choice
  • Establish an OCS Trust so friends and family can transfer funds to imprisoned U.S. citizens, when permissible under prison regulations

We cannot:

  • Get U.S. citizens out of jail overseas
  • State to a court that anyone is guilty or innocent
  • Provide legal advice or represent U.S. citizens in court overseas
  • Serve as official interpreters or translators
  • Pay legal, medical, or other fees for U.S. citizens overseas