Arrest of a U.S. Citizen

The U.S. Embassy is committed to ensuring fair and humane treatment for U.S. citizens imprisoned overseas.  We stand ready to assist incarcerated citizens and their families within the limits of our authority in accordance with applicable international, domestic, and foreign law.  Please note that the Algerian government treats dual-national Algerian-Americans who enter Algeria on an Algerian passport solely as Algerian citizens, and the role of the U.S. Embassy may be limited for such persons. 

Islam is Algeria’s state religion. The Algerian government allows non-Muslim religious worship only in structures exclusively intended and approved for that purpose.  Activities such as proselytizing and encouraging conversion to a faith other than Islam are prohibited.  Penalties may include fines and imprisonment.  See the Department of State’s International Religious Freedom Report.

Avoid getting arrested overseas by:

If you are arrested in Algeria or know a U.S. citizen who has been arrested:

  • Ask the prison authorities to notify the U.S. Embassy in Algiers.
  • You may also wish to reach out directly to the U.S. Embassy to let us know of the arrest. 

Consular assistance to U.S. citizens who have been arrested:

When a U.S. citizen is arrested overseas, he or she may be initially confused and disoriented, which can be compounded if the U.S. citizen is in unfamiliar surroundings, does not speak the local language, or is not familiar with local customs or the local legal system.

We can help:

  • Provide alist of attorneys practicing in Algeria.
  • Contact family, friends, or employers of the detained U.S. citizen with his/her written permission.
  • Visit the detained U.S. citizen regularly.
  • Help ensure that prison officials are providing appropriate medical care.
  • Provide a general overview of the local criminal justice process.
  • Provide information on local and U.S.-based resources to assist victims of crime that may be available.
  • If requested and where possible, ensure that prison officials are permitting visits with a member of the clergy of the religion of the detained U.S. citizen’s choice.
  • Establish anOverseas Citizens Services (OCS) Trust so friends and family can transfer funds to imprisoned U.S. citizens, when permissible under prison regulations.

We cannot:

  • Get U.S. citizens out of jail overseas.
  • State to a court that anyone is guilty or innocent.
  • Provide legal advice or represent U.S. citizens in court overseas.
  • Serve as official interpreters or translators.
  • Pay legal, medical, or other fees for U.S. citizens overseas