Vienna Convention Rights Regarding An Arrest of a Foreign National
What are the Vienna Convention rights of a foreign national after he had been arrested ?
In United States v. Alvarado-Torres, 45 F. Supp. 2d 986 (S.C. Cal. 1999), the court considered just how the terms of the Vienna Convention would be applied when a foreign national was arrested for a criminal offense.
The court first noted that the Convention does not require law enforcement officers to allow a foreign national to contact a consular representative before they begin an interrogation.
Further, even if the foreign national requests to contact the consulate after being arrested, the Convention does not require that the officers delay their interrogation until contact is made.
The court looked at the State Department's interpretation of the Convention.
The State Department has indicated that officials comply with the notification requirement by notifying the foreign national of his right to contact the consulate before he is booked for detention.
Officers would comply with the Convention by contacting the consulate within 24 hours, or even as late as 72 hours, of the foreign national's request.
The State Department has noted that the Vienna Convention does not require that the consulate be notified outside of its regular working hours. Alvarado-Torres, 45 F. Supp. 2d at 991.