Tuesday, 5 August 2008

UN chief appeals for stay in execution

UN chief appeals for stay in execution

Article from: Agence France-Presse

From correspondents in Mexico City

August 06, 2008 05:07am

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon today called on the United States to abide by a ruling of the International Court of Justice and stay the scheduled execution of a Mexican prisoner in Texas.

Jose Ernesto Medellin, convicted of the 1993 rape and murder of two teenagers, is among 51 Mexicans on death row and is due to be put to death in Texas today in defiance of an ICJ order to halt his execution.

"All decisions and orders of the International Court of Justice must be respected by states," Mr Ban warned today on local television in Mexico City where he is attending a world AIDS conference.

"The United States should take every step to make sure the execution does not take place."

Mr Ban said he had taken all the necessary steps in order to delay Medellin's execution, detailed in a letter to the United States.

He said he was "confident" that his demands would be accepted.

Mexico has complained that its nationals on death row were not informed of their right to consular access and assistance during trial, a right under the Vienna Convention.

Medellin's request for a reprieve was unanimously turned down yesterday by the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles. His fate lies in the hands of Texas Governor Rick Perry.

Medellin's lawyers are still hoping the US Supreme Court will issue a stay of execution that would give the US Congress time to pass a new law that can force individual states such as Texas to abide by ICJ decisions.

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