Arbitrary arrest and arbitrary detention are the arrest or detention of an individual in a case in which there is no likelihood or evidence that they committed a crime against legal statute, or in which there has been no proper due process of law or order.
Virtually all individuals who are arbitrarily arrested are given no explanation as to why they are being arrested, and they are not shown any arrest warrant. Depending on the social context, many or the vast majority of arbitrarily arrested individuals may be held incommunicado and their whereabouts can be concealed from their family, associates, the public population and open trial courts. Many individuals who are arbitrarily arrested and detained suffer physical or psychological torture during interrogation, as well as extrajudicial punishment and other abuses in the hands of those detaining them.
Arbitrarily depriving an individual of their liberty is prohibited by the United Nations' division for human rights. Article 9 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights decrees that "no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile"; that is, no individual, regardless of circumstances, is to be deprived of their liberty or exiled from their country without having first committed an actual criminal offense against a legal statute, and the government cannot deprive an individual of their liberty without proper due process of law. As well, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights specifies the protection from arbitrary arrest and detention by the Article 9.