While you are traveling in Suriname, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In Suriname you may be taken in for questioning if you don’t have your passport with you. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings, particularly government buildings. In some places driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. If suspected of driving under the influence and caught in an accident, the Surinamese Police may not be able to measure the alcohol level on the scene; they will take you to the nearest medical center to measure blood alcohol content. You will be held by the police for up to six hours until the results of your blood alcohol content are determined.
There are also some things that might be legal in the country you visit, 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 Suriname is a crime, which is also prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Suriname, 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 Suriname, you have the option to request that the police, prison officials, or other authorities alert the nearest U.S. Embassy, which for Suriname is located in the capital city, Paramaribo.
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