While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States.
Although Zimbabwean authorities are required to notify the nearest U.S. embassy when a U.S. citizen has been arrested, the U.S. Embassy in Harare does not always receive notification from Zimbabwean police. Further, the Government of Zimbabwe does not always grant immediate or repeated visits to detained or incarcerated U.S. citizens by Embassy consular officers. Individuals may be detained for up to 48 hours without due process, and detainees accused or suspected of political offenses have been repeatedly remanded in 14-day increments. U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times to be able to provide proof of identity and citizenship if questioned by local officials. U.S. citizens arrested or detained in Zimbabwe are advised to demand immediate contact with a U.S. consular official from the U.S. Embassy in Harare.
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