Consular Functions in cases of Arrest And/Or Detention of Kenya Nationals in the United States
Apart from its diplomatic functions, the Embassy provides consular services to visiting or resident Kenyan nationals and individuals wishing to travel to Kenya. Consular functions are set forth in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) and they are designed to ensure that foreign governments can extend appropriate consular services to their nationals. Such consular services are also available when a foreign national is arrested or detained within the territory of the receiving State.
Consular officials are entitled access to their nationals in detention, and are entitled to provide appropriate consular assistance. As in cases involving foreign nationals of countries that are not in the U.S. Mandatory Notification List, where Kenyan nationals are arrested or detained, they will be advised, of the right to have their consular officials notified. Subject to the express consent of the arrested/detained individuals the U.S. law enforcement agency will notify the consular officer at the Embassy without delay. If an individual declines to give consent, the Embassy will not be notified. Upon receipt of notification of arrest/detention of Kenyan nationals, the Embassy may provide a range of consular services including the following:
- Attempt to ensure that they receive a fair and speedy trial.
- Visit them in prison to ensure that they are receiving humane treatment.
- Converse and correspond with them and assist in arranging for legal representation.
- Facilitate communications with their families both within the U.S. and in Kenya.
Consular officers are required to refrain from acting on behalf of a foreign national, if the national opposes their involvement. In addition, consular officers are precluded from acting as attorneys for their nationals. As such the Embassy's consular officers do not provide legal representation. We will offer basic legal advise and if necessary, assist in identifying a suitable attorney. It is to be noted, however, that the Embassy does not provide any financial assistance or provide bond facilities for detained Kenyans.
We strongly advise Kenyans in the United States to ensure that they observe the laws and regulations of this country in order to avoid getting into costly legal processes. We particularly urge all Kenyans to keep their immigration status valid at all times and avoid being at the risk of facing deportation proceedings. All travel documents should in addition be kept valid. It is also important to register with the Embassy in case of any eventualities. If for any reason you are arrested and/or detained:
- Do not resist the arrest; it will only serve to aggravate your legal problems.
- Give consent to the law enforcement agency to notify the Embassy, Consular Section of your arrest/detention. This could be the only way the Embassy and perhaps your next of kin will learn about your predicament in order to find possible ways for assistance.
- If possible, ask for communication facilities to talk with the consular officer at the Embassy. We accept collect calls from detention centers.
- In talking with the Embassy, state your case honestly and provide names and contacts of individuals, both in the U.S. and in Kenya you wish to inform about your situation. The Embassy will communicate your messages to them as soon as possible.
- If you can afford an attorney, decline to answer questions relating to your case except in the presence and with the advise of your attorney.