Whether your arrest is caused by deliberate wrongdoing, a case of mistaken identity or a stupid prank gone awry, you will be treated like any other crime suspect taken into police custody for interrogation.
In the unfortunate event that this happens abroad, how you deal with the situation will have considerable influence on how your case will turn out later. It is crucial that you handle your arrest appropriately. Any mistake committed at this time will not be easy to rectify afterward.
An arrest, on its own, is a traumatic enough experience. And worse if it happens abroad where you do not know how their legal processes work and if you cannot read or understand the language.
It is easy to panic when this happens. However, keep in mind that quick thinking and a calm disposition is more important than ever. If you will let the situation unnerve you, you can easily commit critical mistakes during the interrogation process that may hurt the chances of your case.
When arrest happens, it is important not to say anything or admit anything, even to defend yourself. Sometimes in the haste to explain the situation for your defense, you might end up with convoluted and inconsistent statements that can worsen your case instead of helping it.
The police officers may intimidate you into signing a blank paper or a statement in a language you do not understand. Stand your ground by calmly but firmly refusing to affix your signature on any form or document. If you can avoid talking or making any statement of whatever kind, do so. Wait until you have been properly advised by a legitimate legal counsel of your choice before you make any statement regarding your case.
The best thing that you can do is to request to contact your home country’s consulate and talk to a consular officer or his representative. You need to contact them as soon as possible because they are in a position to advice you of the significance of your arrest and the legal procedure that will follow. They can also provide you with a lawyer to inform you of what is going on, what your best options are and how to go about it. The consulate can also notify your loved ones and arrange for their visit.
If you have been subjected to any form of abuse, whether physical or psychological, inform your consulate representative and lawyer about it. Be as detailed as possible. It can also help if you can alert international organizations on human rights about the incident.
A phone call to your family members is also invaluable, so exert efforts to make this happen. Inform your family of what happened. Do not try to tone down the story.
The more they know and understand about what happened, the better they can help you. Ask them to petition your government, to seek help from your congressional representatives and to alert the media about your case. This will help compel the government to hasten any actions that can help for your immediate release.