Update: Jason Dement received a one-year “suspended sentence.” He’ll only serve it if he “reoffends” in Turkey within five years. This is a good deal. Jason gets to go home and the Turkish authorities get to save face in the eyes of the world over something everyone else thought was silly. Everybody’s happy…mostly Jason.
For those that didn’t know, an American tourist named Jason Dement who collected stones during a six-day beach vacation, had been detained in Turkey since early April and faced trial for attempting to smuggle “historical artifacts.” He was taken into custody by security officials at Antalya airport, near Turkey’s Mediterranean coast, because two of the pieces inside a bag of stones appeared to be artifacts. Obviously, Turkey has broad definitions about what constitute historical artifacts and strict anti-smuggling laws.
Worth knowing…If you’re arrested or detained, it’s important to know the legal rights an American enjoys in the United States don’t transfer to another country. Each country is sovereign and its laws apply to everyone who enters regardless of nationality. If you have doubts about the laws in the country where you want to visit or live, it would be worth your time to conduct some research before you travel. The things you learn might surprise you. For example in Singapore, smoking in public buildings, littering, jaywalking, spitting, feeding birds in public places, chewing gum on the local transport system, and failing to flush public lavatories are considered civic crimes, which result in fines. The situation may be more serious than just a fine. Importing pork products into Yemen carries a maximum punishment of death. Be sensitive to the reading materials you’re carrying too. For example, Muslim countries won’t allow magazines that show excessive skin. In most countries, taking photographs of government facilities or religious symbols is also a crime. The list goes on and on.
Regardless of the crime you are charged with committing, the United States government or embassy personnel cannot get you released from foreign jails. However, they will insist on prompt access to an arrested American. They can also provide a list of English-speaking attorneys and information on the host country’s legal system, and will offer to contact your family or friends for you. They will even visit you on a regular basis, protest any mistreatment, monitor jail conditions, and provide dietary supplements. Other than these few services, they can’t do much for you.
If you’re arrested, then ask to speak to someone from the embassy. It might take some time for them to honor your request. Be respectful, patient, and persistent. Oh…and start a blog.
He created a blog here:
Read the full article here:
For more than 23 years, Steve was an intelligence community professional who traveled and lived throughout Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central America. He now uses his experiences and formal training to help people overcome their reluctance to travel by giving them the solid, reliable information they can use to plan effectively, reduce risk, react to danger, and return home safe.