Questionable death penalty

Dozens of Mexican citizens are sentenced to death in the U.S. and the last thing being demanded is their release or forgiveness; just the certainty that Law has been upheld

File photo/AP
English 09/11/2017 09:08 Mexico City Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL Actualizada 09:10
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Killing goes against the main right of a human being. For this reason, all societies reserve the highest punishments for those who have committed this crime.

However, is it valid for the State to kill someone who took someone else's life? Or should rehabilitation be made a priority? Considering the dwindling number of countries who still apply the death penalty and how a great majority has abolished it, it seems the world has defined its position in this regard.

The death penalty is still applied in several countries. According to Amnesty International, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Pakistan, and Egypt were the countries which recorded the most number of executions in 2016. To this group, we can add the United States, which came in at seventh.

Inside American prisons, dozens of Mexican citizens are awaiting their execution – which has sparked once more the debate of the legal defense of our fellow countrymen in the U.S. and whether their trials were carried out pursuant to the Law.

In all cases, the attorneys for the defense and the Mexican Government do not question the crimes and charges the accused have been sentenced for, only the legal development of the proceedings, seeing that the right of the accused to notify a Mexican diplomatic representation of their situation wasn't recognized. The International Court of Justice in The Hague has ruled in favor of Mexico given that in more than 50 cases the Vienna Convention was violated regarding consular rights. On the grounds of their local autonomy, Texas has refused to review the cases.

If there was ever a country which boasts a strict adherence to the Law and its proceedings, that country is the United States. The first and vital communication with someone who's being arrested is precisely the Miranda Rights: mainly, the right of the accused to remain silent and to an attorney which all American policemen must read at the time of an arrest. Failure to do so can invalidate the whole proceeding.

For our fellow countrymen sentenced to death, the last thing being demanded is their release or forgiveness; just the certainty that Law has been upheld, that the United States is complying with human rights. Killing is a crime which must be punished, but when the State is the executioner, it's even worse when it happens amidst irregularities.


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