The Government of Mexico reiterates its firm rejection of the planned execution of Mexican national Edgar Tamayo Arias, scheduled for January 22, 2014 in the State of Texas.
In 2004, the International Court of Justice, in its ruling known as the Avena decision, found that the United States has an obligation to review and reconsider the sentences of 51 Mexicans—including Edgar Tamayo—who were sentenced to capital punishment without having been notified of their right to receive assistance and protection from Mexican consular officials as article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations establishes.
If the execution of Edgar Tamayo takes place without his case being reviewed and his sentence reconsidered as the International Court of Justice has ordered, it would constitute the third execution of a Mexican national included in the Avena decision, and a clear violation of the United States' international obligations under the Vienna Convention, the observance of which is fundamental in guaranteeing the rights of all individuals to due process, including U.S. citizens currently traveling or residing abroad.
Mexico recognizes the efforts of the United States government to ensure that the State of Texas adhere to the Avena decision, as well as its repeated recognition of its international obligation during recent years and the efforts undertaken jointly by several federal lawmakers seeking to promote legislation that would ensure that each state comply with this international obligation, legislation that unfortunately has yet to be passed.
Up to this point, the Ministry of Foreign Relations, in coordination with Mr. Tamayo's attorneys, has made use of all political, legal, and administrative resources available in order to stop the execution of our countryman. The most recent legal actions we have taken include the presentation of a legal recourse based on the findings of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission, a body which, beginning on January 18th of 2012, began taking cautionary measures ordering the suspension of the execution. Additionally, a federal suit was filed this past January 14th in Austin, Texas, to petition the governor and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles (BPP) to abstain from proceeding with the execution until an adequate and transparent process has been established.
The political actions our government has taken include letters that Foreign Secretary José Antonio Meade, the Ambassador of Mexico to the United States, Eduardo Medina Mora, the President of the CNDH, Raúl Plasencia, the Governor of Morelos, Graco Ramírez, and other federal legislators have sent to the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles asking that the execution be suspended.
In the international sphere, the International Court of Justice, the Inter-American Human Rights Court, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Amnesty International, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the International Commission against the Death Penalty, the National Latino Evangelical Coalition, the ambassadors of the European Union, the United Kingdom, El Salvador, Honduras, and Uruguay in the United States, the American Bar Association, the American Friends and Service Committee, and the US Departments of State and Justice all sent missives appealing to Texas authorities to suspend the execution of Tamayo Arias. Moreover, this past 15th of January, the Ambassador of Mexico to the Organization of American States opened up a debate on the abolition of the death penalty in America, and denounced the lack of compliance by the United States to the ruling of the ICJ.
The Ministry of Foreign Relations, through the Department of Protection for Mexicans Abroad and the Consulate General of Mexico in Houston, will continue to assist the family members of Edgar Tamayo Arias. Some of the support for the family includes assistance in obtaining travel documents to visit Mr. Tamayo in Texas, economic support for their visit including food, lodging, and travel expenses and someone to accompany them on their visits to see Edgar in prison. The Tamayo family also has support from the Government of Morelos.
The Government of Mexico opposes the death penalty and is determined to use all necessary means to protect those Mexican nationals in danger of receiving such a sentence, which is why we created the Mexican Capital Legal Assistance Program (MCLAP) in the year 2000. To date, the program has helped avoid or reverse the imposition of capital punishment in 868 cases.