Wednesday, August 06, 2008

And Then There Were 50

For weeks now, the Mexican press had been providing a daily death watch for José Medellín, the first of 51 Mexican citizens scheduled to be executed despite and International Court of Justice ruling that they had been denied certain rights guaranteed them under international treaties signed by the US. All the stories made sure to note the possibility of a last minute appeal, commutation, reprieve or pardon. Maybe the suspense made for a better story, but it struck us as naive that anyone would bet against an illegal alien convicted of gang-raping and strangling two teenage girls in Texas keeping his appointment with the executioner, regardless of what the International Court of One-World Government, Black Helicopter Injustice thought of it. Sure enough, Medellín was executed last night, more or less right on time. In the grand scheme of things, we say good riddance. But as George Bush's former Ambassador to Mexico pointed out yesterday:

Because thousands of U.S. citizens are jailed abroad every year (sometimes for no good reason), anything that diminishes the power of American consuls to assist them in their time of need is cause for concern. Yet current developments in our own nation are threatening the power of American consuls.

...A failure to comply with this most basic of treaty commitments would significantly impair the ability of our diplomats and leaders to protect the interests -- individual and collective -- of Americans abroad. Were the tables turned -- American citizens arrested abroad and denied consular access, with an ICJ judgment requiring review of those cases for prejudice, and another nation refusing to comply -- our leaders would rightly demand that compliance be forthcoming.

The Burro Hall Editorial Board has long opposed the death penalty on the grounds that, hello, we live in the 21st Century!, but also because we consider ourselves as likely as anyone to suddenly find ourselves in serious legal trouble based entirely on an innocent misunderstanding. (Perhaps more so - just ask the Missus how many times a day I say, "Oh, c'mon...I was kidding!") If there's any upside to the prospect of another fifty death row countdowns here, it's that we'll probably be driving well below the speed limit and obeying all traffic signs for the foreseeable future.

Update: The Associate Press dissents:
Mexicans struggling with increasingly gruesome crimes at home devoted the least attention in recent memory to the execution of one of their citizens in Texas.
As our memory - spotty in the best of times - only goes back to May 2006, we're not in a position to gauge this, but it sure seemed like a lot of attention to us. Certainly more than we ever saw back home (Timothy McVeigh execution excluded).


Anonymous said...

If the other fifty are in Texas they will probably be executed.
Just stay out of W's state and you should be just fine!


The AP boycotting MexFiles said...

Can you quote a full 25 words from AP? I'm not sure they have any reporters who have worked in Mexico long enough to have a "recent memory" of anything.