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Overseas Prisoners

Overseas Prisoners

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FCO Human Rights Report 2010
FCO Human Rights Report 2010

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Published by: Foreign and Commonwealth Office on Mar 26, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Overseas Prisoners
As of 30 September, we were aware of 2,594 British nationals detained in 139countries overseas. Consular staff spent a substantial proportion of timeassisting British nationals in detention, including visiting them.One particular case arose in July, when we became aware of a Britishnational detained abroad on drugs charges. We were not notified of his arrestuntil a week after it happened, in which time he alleged that he had beenbeaten whilst in custody. Consular staff visited him and offered consular assistance ± including information about the prison and legal system ± andput him in touch with the NGOs Reprieve and Prisoners Abroad. We alsooffered to contact his family to make them aware of the situation. After gettinghis permission to do so, we protested to the authorities about both the lack of consular notification and his mistreatment.Consular staff aim to contact British detainees within 24 hours of beingnotified of their arrest or detention, and to visit them as soon as possibleafterwards. We work to ensure that countries meet their consular notificationobligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations or under anybilateral conventions they have with the UK. If our consular staff are de niedaccess to a detained British national, we will lobby vigorously to ensure thatwe are allowed to see them, both to check on their welfare and to explain thesupport we can offer. This support includes direct help, as well as providinginformation and access to the services of our NGO partners, most notablyReprieve, Fair Trials International, and Prisoners Abroad.In 2010 we provided funding for a Fair Trials International project to develop asystem for providing non-discretionary basic legal assistance, support andreferrals to all British nationals facing criminal charges overseas. We alsoprovided core funding for several of our UK NGO partners, including Reprieveand Prisoners Abroad, to help ensure that those detained get the assistancethey need.

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