Mexico, U.N. Officials Ask TX To Halt Execution

Critics say Mexican Ruben Cárdenas should not be executed Wednesday evening because Texas didn’t comply with international human rights standards. After interrogation, Cárdenas confessed that he killed a cousin in 1997.

Mexican officials and United Nations human rights experts have called for a stop to a Texas execution scheduled for Wednesday evening, the Texas Tribune reports. The man sentenced to die, Mexican national Ruben Cárdenas, was never given a chance to speak to his country’s consulate after his arrest more than 20 years ago, a violation of an international treaty. He was not provided a lawyer until 11 days after his arrest, and his representatives claim evidence against him is faulty and his confession was coerced. “If the scheduled execution of Mr. Cárdenas goes ahead, the U.S. Government will have implemented a death penalty without complying with international human rights standards,” said Agnes Callamard and Elina Steinerte, independent experts with the U.N.’s Human Rights system.

Cárdenas was convicted and sentenced to death in the 1997 murder of his 16-year-old cousin. After hours of interrogation, Cárdenas confessed that he snuck into his cousin’s room through an open window and kidnapped, raped and killed her before leaving her body near a canal. Under the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, arrestees from a foreign country must be told they can notify their consulate and consult with them during their detention. In 2004, the U.N.’s International Court of Justice found that the U.S. violated this treaty with more than 50 Mexican nationals on death row, including Cárdenas. A ruling ordered that all the cases should be reconsidered before execution. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that even though the treaty created obligations for the federal government, it didn’t force anything on states.  The Mexican government still says the violation is “illegal.” The country’s deputy foreign minister for North America, Carlos Sada, said Texas prosecutors didn’t follow due process and that Mexico, which does not have the death penalty, is seeking to stay the execution.