Mexican national executed in Texas after U.S. Supreme Court rejects death sentence delay


HUNTSVILLE, TEXAS (BNO NEWS) — A Mexican national on Thursday was executed for a 1994 rape and murder after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected death sentence delay calls from around the world.

According to the state-funded Voice of America, Justices voted 5 to 4 against delaying the execution as urged by the Mexican government, the United Nations, U.S. President Barack Obama, and others.

Hugo Leal, 38, was executed just hours later as the Supreme Court considered there was convincing evidence of his guilt. In 1994, he raped and then killed a 16-year-old girl in San Antonio.

The government of Mexico strongly condemned the execution and considered it a clear violation of a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the 2004 Avena case which ordered to review and reconsider the sentence imposed on the Mexican national as well as on others.

In 2004, the ICJ ruled that the U.S. breached its obligations under an international convention to 51 Mexicans on death row in various federal prisons when it did not inform them of their right to contact their consular representatives without delay after their arrests.

Furthermore, Mexico alleged that at the moment of the arrest, Texas authorities did not inform Leal of his right to receive consular assistance, in violation to Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

The Mexican government added that a protest letter was sent to the U.S. Department of State deploring the fore mentioned violations and voicing its concern over the rights of Mexican nationals arrested in U.S. territory.

Last week, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Navi Pillay, urged the U.S. to stop the execution of Leal for the same reason: the convicted murderer was not granted access to a Mexican consular official at the time of his arrest.

Pillay also wrote a letter to Texas Governor Rick Perry asking him to order a life sentence instead as he had the power to commute the death penalty. A similar appeal to the Supreme Court was rejected in 2008, when Texas was set to execute a different Mexican national.

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