USA breaches international law

I’ve just posted this on my other blog Prison and Row so apologies if you read this twice, but I think it’s incredibly important no matter what your views are on the death penalty and whether or not you think Mr Leal did the crime.

The US breached international law when the state of Texas executed a Mexican citizen convicted of raping and killing an American girl, the UN’s senior human rights official has said. By a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay the execution of Humberto Leal Garcia. Justice Breyer wrote a dissent joined by three justices.

Read statements from former U.S. Diplomats and Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The following statement is attributed to Sandra L. Babcock, attorney for Humberto Leal Garcia: “Today the United States stumbled in its commitment to the rule of law. Mr. Leal, tragically, will suffer the consequences. He will be executed tonight, despite the fact that his right to consular assistance was violated. If he had had the assistance of the Mexican consulate at the time of trial, Mr. Leal would have had a meaningful opportunity to show that he was not guilty of capital murder.

“It is shameful that Mr. Leal will pay the price for our inaction. The need for Congressional action to restore our reputation and protect our citizens is more urgent than ever.

“This case was not just about one Mexican national on death row in Texas. The execution of Mr. Leal violates the United States’ treaty commitments, threatens the nation’s foreign policy interests, and undermines the safety of all Americans abroad. That is why the U.S. Solicitor General, former diplomats, military leaders, and Americans detained overseas were among those who joined together to call for a stay of execution.

“It is now imperative that Congress promptly act to ensure passage of legislation that will bring the U.S. into compliance with its international legal commitments and provide judicial review to the forty Mexican nationals who remain on death row in violation of their consular rights.”

Sandra L. Babcock, Clinical Professor of Law at Northwestern University School of Law and attorney for Mr. Leal, July 7, 2011

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