Wednesday, August 06, 2008

A Just Execution --- And Biased Reporting of It

The Houston Chronicle reports that Jose Medellin was executed tonight, and they perpetuate the myth that he was denied any opportunity to contact the Mexican embassy:

At issue in Medellin's last-minute appeal was his assertion that authorities refused his right to contact the Mexican Consulate after his arrest. By doing so, his attorneys argued, officials violated a 1963 treaty signed by the U.S. and 165 other countries that should have granted him access. His case stirred international controversy when the United Nations' high court found his rights had been violated. The court ordered the execution be stayed.
While some cheered Texas' decision to execute him on Tuesday, others warned that his death could render the treaty void, putting the lives of American citizens arrested overseas in jeopardy.

Sandra Babcock, a law professor at Northwestern University in Chicago and an attorney for Medellin, said the case was not just about one Mexican national on death row.
"It's also about ordinary Americans who count on the protections of the consulate when they travel abroad in strange lands," she said. "It's about the reputation of the U.S. as a nation that adheres to the rule of law."

They make it sound as if Medellin ASKED the authorities in Texas if he could contact the Mexican embassy and was denied. The fact is, Medellin never even told them that he was a Mexican citizen until years after his conviction. And he never asked to contact the embassy.

Reuters also helps perpetuate the myth:

The World Court last month ordered the U.S. government to "take all measures necessary" to halt the upcoming executions of five Mexicans including Medellin's on the grounds that they had been deprived of their right to consular services after their arrests.
Medellin's execution is sure to anger neighboring Mexico and analysts have said it could make life rough for Americans arrested abroad if other countries decide to evoke the U.S. example and deprive them of their right to consular services.

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