Mexico And The UN Intervening To Halt Texas Execution

Anders Hagstrom | Justice Reporter

Mexican and United Nations officials called on Texas to halt its Wednesday execution of a Mexican national, claiming that his murder confessions was coerced and his execution would violate an international treaty.

Rubén Cárdenas Ramírez is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection at 6 p.m. CST for the 1997 kidnapping, rape, and murder of his 16-year-old cousin, Mayra Laguna. The U.N. Office of Human Rights argues that the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations affords Ramírez the right to speak with the Mexican consulate before his execution, which he has not done during his 20 years in prison. Mexican officials also went so far as to call the execution an “illegal act,” Reuters reported.

“If Texas proceeds with the execution of [Ramírez], this action will put the US in breach of its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights, which are binding on all levels of government and public authorities,” the U.N. warned.

The foreign officials’ claims are mitigated by a 2008 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which held that the 1963 treaty applies to federal executions but is not binding on state executions, the Texas Tribune reported.

The case first arose in 2004 when the U.N.’s International Court of Justice attempted to order the U.S. government to grant a retrial to Ramírez and more than 50 other Mexican nationals.

State prosecutors argue that Ramírez’s confession is undeniable and not coerced, despite taking place over several days, 11 of which Ramírez was without a lawyer. They also rest the confession’s veracity on the fact that Ramírez was able to direct police to the girl’s body.

“An independently corroborated confession, one that contains information unknown to the police and known only to someone involved, is extraordinarily strong evidence of guilt,” said Assistant Criminal District Attorney Michael Morris.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied the man’s most recent appeals Monday, and he will be summarily executed on schedule unless Texas Gov. Greg Abbott or another court intervenes.

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