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BBC 7/6/11: Texas urged to halt Mexican Humberto Leal's execution

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  • Rick Kisséll
    Texas urged to halt Mexican Humberto Leal s execution BBC 7/6/11 The Obama administration has urged Texas to delay the execution of a Mexican man, saying it
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 6, 2011
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      BBC News

      Texas urged to halt Mexican Humberto Leal's execution



      The Obama administration has urged Texas to delay the execution of a Mexican man, saying it would put the US in breach of international obligations.

      Humberto Leal Garcia, 38, faces lethal injection on Thursday for the rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl in 1994.

      He was not told he could have access to Mexican consular officials, in violation of the Vienna Convention.

      The parole board refused to halt the sentence and Texas Governor Rick Perry has indicated he will not intervene.

      A state department spokeswoman said that the federal government had filed a brief on Friday with the US Supreme Court, supporting Leal's argument for a stay of execution until the end of the year.

      "The imminent execution of petitioner would place the United States in irreparable breach of its international law obligation," US Solicitor General Donald Verrilli wrote in the brief.

      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 wants a delay to allow Congress to consider legislation covering foreign nationals who were not given proper consular access before being tried for crimes that carry the death penalty.

      'Heinous crime'

      The Mexican government says it regards the planned execution as a violation of international law.

      "This is about the right that each person has under the Vienna Convention to be able to enjoy the support of their country of origin when they face criminal proceedings in a foreign country," the Mexican Foreign Ministry said.

      Leal, who moved to the US when he was a small child, is one of 51 Mexican nationals on death row who were the focus of a 2004 ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

      The court said that their convictions should be reviewed because they were denied consular access.

      President George W Bush told Texas officials they should comply with the ICJ order but the Supreme Court ruled that he had overstepped his authority.

      In August 2008, Texas, which argued that its courts were not bound by the rulings of the ICJ, executed Mexican Jose Medellin.

      With the Texas parole board's decision, Leal's fate now rests with Governor Rick Perry or the Supreme Court.

      Mr Perry's office has said he has no plans to stop the execution.

      "if you commit the most heinous of crimes in Texas, you can expect to face the ultimate penalty under our laws, as in this case," spokeswoman Katherine Cesinger said.


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