Friday, July 08, 2011

Top UN rights official says US breached international law by executing Humberto Leal

The US breached international law when the state of Texas executed a Mexican citizen convicted of raping and killing an American girl, the UN's senior human rights official has said. By a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay the execution of Humberto Leal Garcia. Justice Breyer wrote a dissent joined by three justices. 
Read statements from former U.S. Diplomats and Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The following statement is attributed to Sandra L. Babcock, attorney for Humberto Leal Garcia:
“Today the United States stumbled in its commitment to the rule of law.  Mr. Leal, tragically, will suffer the consequences.  He will be executed tonight, despite the fact that his right to consular assistance was violated.  If he had had the assistance of the Mexican consulate at the time of trial, Mr. Leal would have had a meaningful opportunity to show that he was not guilty of capital murder.
“It is shameful that Mr. Leal will pay the price for our inaction.  The need for Congressional action to restore our reputation and protect our citizens is more urgent than ever.
“This case was not just about one Mexican national on death row in Texas. The execution of Mr. Leal violates the United States’ treaty commitments, threatens the nation’s foreign policy interests, and undermines the safety of all Americans abroad. That is why the U.S. Solicitor General, former diplomats, military leaders, and Americans detained overseas were among those who joined together to call for a stay of execution.
“It is now imperative that Congress promptly act to ensure passage of legislation that will bring the U.S. into compliance with its international legal commitments and provide judicial review to the forty Mexican nationals who remain on death row in violation of their consular rights.”
Sandra L. Babcock, Clinical Professor of Law at Northwestern University School of Law and attorney for Mr. Leal, July 7, 2011

The following is a message sent to us by Delia Perez Meyer who was in Huntsville during Leal's execution:

Words cannot describe the sorrow & pain that the the families of the
victims and the family of Leal went through over this execution. It was
truly one of the most difficult and saddest days of my life as I spent the
day with my brother on death row - watching the Leal family come in and
visit Humberto for the last time. They were brave, strong, and hopeful
until the last minute! My heart, my love, and my prayers go out to all -
especially Leal's sister who went in to witness the execution despite
having fallen to the ground and vomiting for what seemed like forever when
Babcock told us the US Supreme Court had denied the stay. Shame on Texas,
shame on the US Supreme Court - God only knows how much longer we can take
this horrific, sickening, monstrous death penalty in Texas and beyond.
Thanks so much to the dissenting judges and the international community
for coming forth with such power - it will truly never be forgotten on
death row in Livingston, TX!!! God Bless You all.

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