What foreigners should do if detained

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Jul. 02, 2010 01:06
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Western experts traveling to Ukraine would do well to heed the following rules if detained by the authorities:
  • Do not sign any Ukrainian document.

  • Do not let them have your passport or other form of identification.

  • Call your embassy or consulate immediately. Ensure you have names, mobile telephones and emails of embassy personnel with you.

  • Telephone, text or email Ukrainian and Western politicians and journalists immediately when you are denied entry. Ensure you have names, mobile telephones and emails contacts of Ukrainian parliamentary deputies, journalists and NGO leaders. Bring contact numbers of Western journalists living in Kyiv (Reuters, Associated Press, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, Kyiv Post).

  • Ensure you have a mobile telephone with a built-in camera and email and/or texting capability. Make sure it is fully charged and bring one extra battery. Ask another Westerner in line at passport control to take a photo or video of you and send theseto Ukrainian or Western journalists.

  • Ensure you have some cash with you for essential purchases. Most facilities in Kyiv’s Borispil airport do not take credit cards.

  • You do not know when you will see your luggage. Include basic toiletries in your hand luggage.

  • Bring reading and writing material with you. Detention can be for up to 10 hours. Keep a log of what is taking place and what is being said. Use this log to write a blog and/or article afterwards. Publicity is good for your plight.

  • Use twitter or texting to keep people informed. To save time, prepare a mailing list on your mobile phone of key people (embassy/consulate officials, Western/Ukrainian journalists, Ukrainian politicians and NGO activists) you would wish to keep informed of your plight.

  • Before traveling to Ukraine, ask your colleagues for contact details of a Kyiv-based lawyer whom you could telephone if you are detained.

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