If you are arrested abroad

Tourists must abide by local laws. Finnish missions provide information and monitor the situation. The mission cannot interfere with the legal proceedings. A serious offence committed abroad may also be punishable in Finland.

Tourists must abide by local laws

Observe the laws of the country you are visiting and respect the local customs and religion. Be sure to behave and dress according to the local customs. Actions that are not punishable in Finland may be prohibited in other countries. Things that may be prohibited include:

  • taking photographs of military areas and other sites or objects related to national security
  • distributing religious material
  • removing antiquities from the country
  • same-sex relationships, extramarital affairs and public displays of affection.

Punishments abroad may be significantly more severe than in Finland. For example, in some countries, drug-related crimes may lead to a death sentence. Pre-trial detention may take a long time, even if the person is ultimately found innocent.

Finnish missions provide information and monitor the situation

If you are a Finnish citizen or a foreign national with a permanent residence in Finland and you are arrested, imprisoned or otherwise lose your liberty abroad, you have the right to request that the police or prison authorities notify the nearest Finnish mission of your loss of liberty.

The mission will notify the Ministry, which will, upon your request, provide information about the event to a person you have designated.

If a mission is notified of your arrest or imprisonment abroad, it will look into whether the country in question provides legal counsellors and interpreters to persons accused of or investigated in relation to a crime. If necessary, the mission can also provide guidance on how to obtain a legal counsellor and interpreter.

The mission will monitor the development of the situation as far as possible and, if necessary, will determine the pardoning practices in the country in question. A person who has lost his or her liberty can also request a meeting with a representative from the mission.

The mission cannot interfere with the legal proceedings

The Finnish mission cannot interfere with the legal proceedings, nor can it influence the local judicial power to grant your release.

The mission cannot provide legal advice or advocate on your behalf. These tasks are the responsibility of your legal counsellor or advocate. You can request the contact information of local advocates from the Finnish mission abroad or the local authorities. For information about advocates working in Finland and Finnish advocates working abroad, you can contact the Finnish Bar Association.

A person who has committed or been convicted of a crime can be extradited or transferred to Finland by separate agreement.

A serious offence committed abroad may also be punishable in Finland

Pursuant to Finnish law, a person can also be prosecuted in Finland for a serious offence committed abroad, such as a sexual offence against a child.

Attorneys:

The American Bar Association: www.americanbar.org
Finnish-American Lawyers’ Association, some attorneys speak Finnish: www.finnishamericanlawyer.org
Washington DC area: www.dcbar.org
State of New York: www.nysba.org
New York City area: www.nycbar.org
State of California:  www.calbar.ca.gov
Los Angeles area: www.lacba.org