This is archived content from the U.S. Department of Justice website. The information here may be outdated and links may no longer function. Please contact if you have any questions about the archive site.

1623. Substantive Offenses -- Kidnapping -- 18 U.S.C. § 1201

The act of kidnapping a "foreign official," "internationally protected person (IPP)," or "official guest" is punishable under § 1201(a)(4) without regard to interstate transportation of the victim. The maximum permissible punishment is imprisonment for any term of years or for life and no proof of harm to the victim is required to support any such sentence. A sentence to death or to life imprisonment is authorized by statute "if the death of any person" results from the kidnapping. See JM 9-10.000 for the death penalty policy.

Section 1201(c) prohibits conspiracy to kidnap and authorizes "imprisonment for any term of years or for life." Because of the extraterritorial reach of 18 U.S.C. § 1201(e), a conspiracy within the United States or outside the United States to kidnap an internationally protected person outside the jurisdiction of the United States is prohibited and subject to prosecution under this subsection.

Section 1201(d) prohibits attempts to kidnap including such attempts involving foreign officials, internationally protected persons, and official guests. It authorizes a 20 year maximum term.

[cited in Criminal Resource Manual 1037; JM 9-65.800]

Updated January 17, 2020