Photo: Mexico Looking to Overturn Death Sentences of Mexicans on Death Row in U.S. Prisons
The National Human Rights Commission in Mexico is pushing the government to increase their efforts towards overturning the death sentences of 58 Mexican nationals currently imprisoned in the United States. According to a press release by the Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, as of 2011, the majority of the prisoners came from Mexican states of Baja California, Chihuahua, Jalisco, and Michoacán.
The group stated, “The commission considers it necessary to intensify actions to avoid the death penalty in cases of Mexicans held in foreign prisons and to safeguard their rights to life, dignity, and bodily integrity. This is the most severe penalty against people, its compliance is irreversible, and it is a measure that does not guarantee the delivery of justice.”
The commission also noted that the Mexican government has filed a lawsuit before the International Court of Justice. The lawsuit states that in 39 of the 58 cases, procedural safeguards provided in the Vienna Convention for Consular Relations were violated. These requirements state that people sentenced to death outside of their native country are entitled to consular support from their own government.
In 2011, President Obama opposed the execution of a Mexican national in Texas. The administration argued that it “would place the United States in irreparable breach of its international law obligation and cause irreparable harm to U.S. international interests.” The administration hoped to at least delay the execution until a new law mandating the review of international death sentence cases which did not receive help from their consulates. The Supreme Court, however, denied this request by a vote of 5 to 4.
The commission did not state the crimes these 58 prisoners allegedly committed in their report. It did state however, that “from 2000 to 2011, 745 Mexicans have benefited from a reversal of the death penalty” in the United States.