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Latino Daily News

Thursday April 4, 2013

U.S. Senate to Look Into Rights of Mexicans on Death Row

U.S. Senate to Look Into Rights of Mexicans on Death Row

Photo: Death row

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The Senate has asked the Foreign Relations Secretariat for a report on the number of Mexicans on death row in the United States and efforts being made to provide them with legal assistance.

Human rights activists have expressed concern about a possible “wave of executions” of Mexicans in the United States, Sen. David Monreal, who sponsored the measure, said, without explaining the source of the information.

The goal is to learn about the situation of Mexicans on death row in the United States and provide them with more legal assistance so their human rights will not be violated, the senator said.

Mexico just marked nine years since the International Court of Justice, or ICJ, issued a ruling ordering the United States to review the cases of scores of Mexicans sentenced to death in that country.

The ICJ ruled on March 31, 2004, in the Avena and Other Mexican Nationals case that Humberto Leal Garcia’s rights had been violated.

The ICJ, which is based in The Hague and is the United Nations’ highest judicial organ, ruled that U.S. authorities should review the death sentences of 51 Mexicans.

The international judicial panel found that Leal and the other Mexicans were denied the guarantee under international law to be informed of their right to consular assistance to mount a defense in court, a right established under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention.

Leal was executed by the state of Texas by lethal injection in July 2011.

The Mexican was put to death after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to grant a stay of execution and Texas Gov. Rick Perry declined to use his power to delay the execution for 30 days.

The Mexican government, the Obama administration and dozens of former U.S. officials, diplomats and military officers all urged Perry to suspend the execution pending a vote in Congress on a bill to comply with the 2004 ICJ decision.

The 38-year-old Leal was sentenced to death for the 1994 kidnapping, rape and murder of 16-year-old Adria Sauceda.

As of 2011, 58 Mexicans were on death row in the United States, of whom 39 were part of the Avena case, the National Human Rights Commission, or CNDH, said.