AUSTIN, Texas, July 1 (UPI) -- The top U.N. human rights official appealed to Texas Gov. Rick Perry to commute the death sentence of a Mexican national scheduled to die next week.
Navi Pillay, U.N. high commissioner for human rights, and two U.N. rights experts urged the execution of Humberto Leal Garcia be halted because the convicted murderer was not granted access to a Mexican consular official when he was arrested for the 1994 murder of a 16-year-old girl, the United Nations said Friday in a release.
In her letter to Perry, Pillay asking him to order a life sentence for Leal Garcia, OHCHR spokesman Rupert Colville said.
"Over and above the normal U.N. position opposing the death penalty, this case raises particular concerns, as Mr. Leal Garcia was not granted consular access, which, as a foreign national, is his right under Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations," Colville said. "The lack of consular assistance and advice raises concerns about whether or not Mr. Leal Garcia's right to a fair trial was fully upheld."
Colville said the case also raises questions about U.S. compliance with a 2004 International Court of Justice ruling that the United States breached its obligations under an international convention to 51 Mexicans on death row throughout America when arresting agents failed to inform them of their right to contact their consular representatives "without delay" after their arrests.
Leal Garcia is scheduled to be executed Thursday.