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Mexico is Trying to Stop Texas from Executing One of its Citizens 

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The Mexican government is attempting to stop the execution of a Mexican citizen in Texas scheduled for Wednesday evening, calling it an “illegal act.”

Ruben Ramirez Cardenas, a Mexican citizen who has been on death row in Texas for two decades, was convicted for the abduction and murder of his 15-year-old cousin Mayra Laguna. Laguna was abducted from her bedroom in McAllen in February 1997, and was later found dead in a canal, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Cardenas confessed to police, saying “I didn’t plan on doing this, but I was high on cocaine.” According to the Chronicle, Cardenas said he, a friend and Laguna had driven around in his mother’s car, and that he had sex with her and beat her when she fought him. He then tied her up “and rolled her down a canal bank,” where she was found. Cardenas is facing the death penalty by lethal injection.

But Cardenas’ attorneys, backed by the Mexican government, are fighting to stop the execution from happening. They’ve tried to overturn his confession, arguing that it was obtained after hours of isolation and intense questioning, and have asked for up-to-date DNA testing. They also argue that Cardenas was never told he was eligible for legal help from the Mexican consulate.

Carlos Sada, Mexico’s deputy foreign minister for North America, said in a Nov. 6 press conference that Texas prosecutors hadn’t followed due process in Cardenas’ case, according to VOA News, calling the execution an “illegal act” from the Mexican government’s perspective.

It’s not the first time the U.S. has been in murky waters when it comes to notifying foreign citizens of their rights — in 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Netherlands ruled that the U.S. had violated the “Vienna Convention,” an international law that requires foreign nationals be advised of their right for their consulate to be notified about their arrest. The court ruled that the U.S. had breached the Convention by not informing Mexican citizens of their right to legal representation from the Mexican consulate.

Cardenas’ plea for an attorney went ignored for 11 days after his arrest — and Mexican officials didn’t find out about his arrest until five months later, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

Currently, 54 Mexicans are facing the death penalty in the United States — a punishment that does not exist in Mexican laws.

If Cardenas is executed on Wednesday, he will be the seventh inmate in Texas executed this year. Texas has the highest number of executions than any other state.

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