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Texas Plans To Execute Mexican Citizen Tomorrow In Defiance Of Vienna Convention

July 6, 2011

Humberto Leal, a Mexican citizen who moved to the United States when he was a young child, will be executed tomorrow in Texas for the rape and murder of a sixteen-year-old girl that took place in 1994, when Humberto was twenty-one years old.

The United States government and the International Court of Justice have attempted to postpone the execution as Mr. Leal was never offered consular services at any point during his detainment or his trial, which constitutes a breach of the Vienna Convention.

In 2008, Texas was faced with a similar situation over the execution of Jose Medellin.  It went through with the execution, stating that the International Court of Justice held no jurisdiction over the State of Texas.

The Mexican government has stated that Humberto Leal’s execution is a violation of international law, and asserted that everyone has a right under the provisions of the Vienna Convention to seek consular services when they face prosecution in a foreign country.

But Texas governor Rick Perry has every intention to follow through with tomorrow’s scheduled lethal injection.

US Solicitor General Donald Verrilli stated in a brief filed by the state department on Friday that “The imminent execution of petitioner would place the United States in irreparable breach of its international law obligation… It would have serious repercussions for United States foreign relations, law enforcement and other co-operation with Mexico, and the ability of American citizens travelling abroad to have the benefits of consular assistance in the event of detention”.

The Obama administration has requested a stay on Leal’s lethal injection so that congress can consider legislation that would cover foreigners who were not offered consular services prior to being tried for crimes that carry the death penalty.  The state of Texas has ignored the federal government’s request.

Being neighbors, it is essential for the United States and Mexico to cooperate.  It is even more essential while the drug war continues to rage and both parties seek to curtail the flow of drugs, weapons, money and people over the US-Mexico border.

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