"Please keep your promise, Mr. President"
Édgar Tamayo Arias, scheduled to die in Texas next month for a murder he committed in 1994, has appealed directly to Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto for assistance.
In a letter released today by a supporter, Tamayo said he recalls listening to a radio interview of Peña Nieto during the 2012 presidential campaign, in which the PRI chief executive promised that he would protect the interests of Mexicans living outside the country.
"Well, I'm one of those, and I need him to carry out that promise and help me," wrote Tamayo.
The Texas Dept. of Corrections will execute Tamayo by lethal injection on Jan. 22, 2014, barring a last minute stay by a federal or state court, or a reprieve by Texas Gov. Rick Perry or the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles in Austin.
Every American court which has considered Tamayo's several appeals over the years has denied him legal relief, and Gov. Perry recently indicated that he does not plan to intervene. But the International Court of Justice in The Hague insists that Tamayo's rights as a Mexican national were violated under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to which the United States is a party.
In a 2009 opinion the ICJ wrote that its orders in Tamayo's case - and 50 other companion cases, all involving Mexicans under death sentence in the United States - "must be performed unconditionally; non-performance constitutes internationally wrongful conduct." The U.S. Supreme Court and several lower courts have ruled they are not obliged to comply with the ICJ's decision for technical reasons.
Tamayo's case has created curious legal and political bedfellows. The administration of former President George W. Bush supported enforcement of the ICJ ruling, and tried to make Texas obey it. The Barack Obama administration is doing the same. Earlier this month U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Gov. Perry about the diplomatic risks of noncompliance with the ICJ's mandate, as did Mexican foreign minister José Antonio Meade. But Perry, a devotee of states' rights, has not budged.
President Peña Nieto, who is on holiday vacation in Acapulco, has not addressed Tamayo's case. He likely will as the execution date approaches, particularly since his partner in the White House is also urging Texas to comply with the Hague court's 2004 decision. But the issue is a much broader one in this country, where there is no capital punishment for any crime. Mexico routinely delivers a note of diplomatic protest when a citizen is executed abroad (Malaysian court: Mexican brothers must hang).
In his letter Tamayo also appealed to the U.S. State Dept. to grant emergency visas to his siblings, who live in Morelos. He has not seen family members since his arrest two decades ago, and their previous requests for travel documents were denied by U.S. authorities, according to Tamayo. "We have to do this before Jan. 22, because that's the day they intend to execute me," he wrote. Neither Texas nor U.S. officials have commented on the letter.
Mar. 20, 2014 - Mexican Human Rights Commission gearing up for next Texas execution
Jan. 22, 2014 - Mexican national, convicted cop killer, executed in Texas
Jan. 7, 2014 - Texas denies Mexican governor's appeal for death stay in Édgar Tamayo case
Dec. 26, 2013 - Condemned Mexican's approaching date with Texas execution chamber poses international risks for U.S.
Dec. 5, 2013 - U.N. selects Mexico's Supreme Court for prestigious Defense of Human Rights Award
May 16, 2012 - Three Mexican brothers sentenced to die on rope for Malaysian drug crimes
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