Mexican National Set to Be Executed in Texas on Thursday

Posted July 7th, 2011 at 4:30 am (UTC-5)
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The U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to issue a last minute delay of the execution of a Mexican national who is scheduled to be put death on Thursday in the state of Texas.

The U.S. government asked the Supreme Court last week to stay the execution of Humberto Leal Garcia until the end of the year, saying he was not told of his right to seek Mexican consular assistance at the time of his arrest.

Leal Garcia is set to die by lethal injection on Thursday for the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl in 1994.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has also urged the state of Texas to commute Leal Garcia's death sentence. A spokesperson has said the case raises particular concerns, as Leal Garcia was not granted consular access, which is his right as a foreign national under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles on Tuesday rejected a request for clemency in the case. Texas Governor Rick Perry could still issue a temporary delay of the execution.

Two years ago, the International Court of Justice, the U.N.'s highest court, ruled the United States violated the court's order in 2008 when authorities in Texas executed another Mexican national convicted of rape and murder.

The court said in a unanimous ruling that U.S. authorities should have reviewed the case of Jose Medellin, who was not granted consular access during his trial for the 1993 rape and murder of two girls. Texas authorities said Medellin's arrest, trial and sentencing complied with state, national and international laws, and there was no reason to stop the execution.

The U.N. court also said the United States was obligated to abide by the court's 2004 order to review the cases of about 50 other Mexican nationals sentenced to death and determine whether the lack of access to Mexican diplomats affected their cases.

Under the 1963 Vienna Convention, foreign nationals have the right to speak with their country's consulate after their arrests.