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Greg Abbott… making life less safe for all of us

23 January 2014

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who probably not coincidentally is the front-runner in the upcoming Republican primary to select the party’s candidate for Governor in the November elections, turned his back on international law and the the rights of all citizens living abroad last night.

While U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Mexican officials (including Ambassador to the United States, Eduardo Medina Mora had both requested Abbott delay the execution of Miacatlán, Morelos native Edgar Arias Tamayo… not because Tamayo was innocent, nor because there is evidence that Tamayo was mentally incompetent, nor even because Texas is one of the few places on the planet that still practices the barbaric custom of making their citizens complicit in killing people as punishment for killing people… but because it makes any of us who live abroad or travel abroad less safe.  Thanks to Greg Abbott.

“This has nothing to do with the behavior and the consequences that that behavior had,” Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, Eduardo Medina Mora, said in an interview. “A court has to examine the consequences of that violation, a violation that has been conceded by both the United States and the State of Texas.”

Tamayo was arrested for shooting a Houston police officer in 1994.  While shooting a cop generally does mean the cops are less likely to follow procedure, the arrest was back in 1994.  As the New York Times reported:

…authorities failed to notify Mr. Tamayo of his right to contact the Mexican Consulate, an omission that violated the international treaty known as the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.

In 2004, the top judicial body of the United Nations — the International Court of Justice, informally known as the World Court — ordered the United States to review the convictions of Mr. Tamayo and 50 other Mexican citizens whose Vienna Convention rights were violated and who were on death row in the United States. Texas has executed two other Mexicans whose cases were part of the World Court’s order. Those two had their convictions reviewed in connection with the Vienna Convention violations, but no United States court has done so in Mr. Tamayo’s case.

Last week, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, an arm of the Organization of American States, said that if Texas carried out the execution, it would be “committing a serious and irreparable violation” of the United States’ international legal obligations.

Abbott had the power to delay the execution at least until the legal issue was worked out, but either for political expediency or out of a callous disregard for the safety of

I think right behind him there's something about "Thou Shalt Not Kill", though when it's politically expedient...

I think right behind him there’s something about “Thou Shalt Not Kill”, though when it’s politically expedient…

U.S. citizens abroad, failed to act.   That in any civilized country, a foreigner who is arrested has the right to consular assistance has effectively been nullified by one U.S. state… something I don’t think makes any sense to anyone outside the U.S., certainly not to that copper on a back road who decides your broken left taillight looks a lot like the broken left taillight on the guy who robbed the local bank and decides to throw you in  the slammer until he can come up with someone better to pin the crime on.

Thanks to Gregg Abbott, you can rot for all he cares.  And,  though it may help meet his short term political goals, was it really so smart for a would-be Texas Governor to piss off every political party in Mexico?  PAN, PRI, PRD, and PANAL all jointly condemned the State of Texas’ failure to follow legal procedure.  Yeah, and the U.S. claims to be a “nation of laws”.   Good luck trying to sell that tonight.

La Jornada:  “La ejecución de Édgar Tamayo, ‘un asesinato sin justificación alguna’: AI” 23 January 2014.

Manny Fernandez, New York Times:  “Texas Prepares to Execute Mexican Despite Concerns That His Arrest Violated Law” 21 January 2014.

Víctor Ballinas and Enrique Méndez, La Jornada: “Reprochan legisladores inminente ejecución de Édgar Tamayo” (22 January 2014).

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 23 January 2014 8:01 am

    A nation of laws, “cuando les conviene”………

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