6 November 2017
GENEVA, 6 November 2017 (Issued as received) – Two UN human rights experts* have called on the US Government to halt the execution of a Mexican national amid concerns that he did not receive a fair trial.
Rubén Cárdenas Ramírez is due to be executed in Texas at 18:00 CST on 8 November 2017.
“If the scheduled execution of Mr Cárdenas goes ahead, the US Government will have implemented a death penalty without complying with international human rights standards,” the experts said. “This will be tantamount to an arbitrary deprivation of life.
“We call for his death sentence to be annulled and for Mr Cárdenas to be re-tried in compliance with international standards relating to due process and fair trial.”
Mr Cárdenas, who was convicted of capital murder in 1998, did not have access to a lawyer for the first 11 days of his detention. Some of the statements he made during this period were relied on by prosecutors during the trial.
At the time of his arrest, Mr Cárdenas was not informed of his right to seek consular assistance. The UN’s International Court of Justice later found that the US Government had breached its obligations under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and ordered the Government not to execute Mr Cárdenas until his case had been reconsidered.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has also called for a new trial which respects due process and fair trial standards.
The experts added: “If Texas proceeds with the execution of Mr Cárdenas, this action will put the US in breach of its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights, which are binding on all levels of government and public authorities.”
(*) The experts: Ms Agnes Callamard is Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and Ms Elina Steinerte , Vice-Chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention
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