Published August 07, 2008
NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico – Mexico's government condemned Texas' execution of Jose Medellin despite a world court order to review the case, expressing concern for the rights of other Mexicans detained in the United States.
Mexico's Foreign Relations Department said it sent a note of protest to the U.S. State Department about the case, which drew international attention because of allegations that Medellin wasn't allowed to consult the Mexican consulate for legal help following his arrest.
Texas executed the Mexican-born Medellin, 33, late Tuesday for the 1993 slayings of two teenage Houston girls after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected his request for a reprieve in a split vote.
Medellin was convicted of participating in the gang rape, beating and strangling of Elizabeth Pena, 16, and Jennifer Ertman, 14. He and five fellow gang members attacked the girls as they were walking home on a June night, raped and tortured them for an hour, then kicked and stomped them before using a belt and shoelaces to strangle them.
In Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, where Medellin was born, a small group of his relatives condemned his execution.
"Only God has the right to take a life," said Medellin's cousin Reyna Armendariz.
Six of his relatives and several activists gathered Tuesday in a working class neighborhood to await news on Medellin's fate.
A large black bow and a banner that read "No to the death penalty ... may God forgive you," hung from an iron fence in the front of the house where Medellin lived until moving to the United States at the age of 3.
A statement from Mexico's Foreign Relations Department said it was "concerned for the precedent that (the execution) may create for the rights of Mexican nationals who may be detained in that country."
An international court ruled in 2004 that the convictions of Medellin and 50 other Mexicans on death row around the United States violated the Vienna Convention, which calls for people arrested abroad to have access to their home country's consular officials.
Texas state officials say Medellin didn't ask to do so until well after he was convicted of capital murder.
The International Court of Justice, also known as the world court, said the Mexican prisoners should have new court hearings to determine whether the violation affected their cases.
President Bush asked states to review the cases, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled earlier this year neither the president nor the international court can force Texas to wait.