Criminal Penalties in Cameroon

While you are in a foreign country, you are subject to that country’s laws and regulations, even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. Cameroonian law does not afford many of the protections to which you may be accustomed in the United States. Legal proceedings tend to be complex, lengthy, and subject to inappropriate influence. If you violate the law in Cameroon, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses, and the condition of detention centers, while improving, is poor. During the February 2008 civil unrest, there were reports of arbitrary arrests by law enforcement officials. Although no expatriates were known to have been arrested, the Department of State cautions you against venturing out during such periods of unrest.

Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Cameroon are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. There are also some things that might be legal in Cameroon, but still illegal in the United States. You can be prosecuted under U.S. law if you buy pirated goods. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in your host country, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.

Based on the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, bilateral agreements with certain countries, and customary international law, if you are arrested in Cameroon, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert nearest U.S. Embassy or the Embassy Branch Office in Douala of your arrest, and to have communications from you forwarded to the Embassy or Branch Office. In Cameroon, the U.S. Embassy contact number is 22 20 15 00, and is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.

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