Amnesty International Responds to Execution of Mexican National in Texas

Press Release
January 22, 2014

Amnesty International Responds to Execution of Mexican National in Texas

Authorities Value Power to Kill More Than Obligation to Do What is Right

(Washington, D.C.) - Amnesty International USA Executive Director, Steven W. Hawkins, released the following statement in response to the execution of Mexican national in Texas.

"Tonight, Edgar Tamayo became the 509th prisoner executed in Texas since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. Days before his execution, Edgar was reported to have said, 'If they execute me, please tell my countrymen, all of Mexico, to forgive me for having failed them and returning in a box.'

"When Texas authorities took Edgar's life they defied our nation's international obligations. Edgar had a right to know he could seek the support and assistance of his government. If he had, he might have had a lawyer that would have conducted more than 16 hours’ worth of investigation before going to trial. He might have had an expert testify that the brain injuries he sustained as a child could only be described as 'life-changing'. He might have had an expert psychologist testify that he suffered from 'mild mental retardation' and had an IQ of 67. Most of all, he might still be alive today.

"Texas is no longer just the country’s #1 executor, it's also a state whose authorities just demonstrated, yet again, that they value the power to kill more than the obligation to do what is right. This is not justice.

"Amnesty International USA joins people around the world in their outrage over the deliberate taking of yet another life. Today, we remind authorities in Texas and in other states throughout the nation that with every execution the movement to abolish the death penalty grows stronger. Abolition is coming to Texas."

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with 3 million members in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.