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UN experts urge US to halt Texas execution of Mexican Rubén Cárdenas Ramírez

GENEVA (6 November 2017) – 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.”

ENDS

(*) 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

The Independent Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

For inquiries and media requests, please contact: Ms Rhiannon Painter (rpainter@ohchr.org/ +41 22 917 9143 or write to eje@ohchr.org).

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact:
Bryan Wilson – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9826 / mediaconsultant2@ohchr.org

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