The days immediately following arrest and transfer to a place of detention are the times when the detainees are the most vulnerable. Not only are the risks of being physically or verbally abused or mistreated greater but also the detainees are particularly disoriented and anxious because of the new circumstances. Personal property, including mobile phones, is confiscated and contact with the outside world is greatly reduced. Uncertainty as to their fate makes detainees dependent upon the information that is transmitted to them. Anyone placed in pre-trial detention should therefore promptly receive information concerning, at a minimum:
- The right to legal counsel (including the possibility of being assigned a court appointed lawyer)
- The right to know what charges have been brought against them
- The right to know when they will appear in court
- The right to contest their detention (habeas corpus)
- The right to know the possibilities that exist for conditional release
The information mentioned above must not only be transmitted orally but must also be submitted in writing to the people it pertains to. These persons should be able to keep these documents for the duration of their detention. It is important that this information be transmitted clearly and, if necessary, with the help of drawings and symbols.