• Press Release

Texas Appeals Court Grants Stay of Execution for Nicaraguan Citizen

August 25, 2015

A Texas court has granted a stay of execution for a Nicaraguan citizen who was scheduled to be put to death tomorrow.

Bernardo Abán Tercero was sentenced in 2000. At his trial, his lawyers presented no expert testimony – such as from a mental health expert – and possible mitigation was not adequately investigated. Today the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals granted a writ of habeas corpus in his case and remanded it to the trial court.

Earlier this month, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called for a stay of execution citing “serious mistakes that affected his right to defense, especially taking into account the applicable standards in a case involving the death penalty.” Tercero was also not afforded an adequate review of his sentence and was not properly informed of his right to diplomatic assistance as a foreign national.

“Tercero’s trial represents a shocking failure on the part of the justice system, especially when his life is on the line,” said Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA said. “Not only is it right that this execution be halted, but the death penalty must be abolished altogether. This case shows that the death penalty system is broken beyond repair, and this cruel and inhuman punishment should be ended once and for all.”

“I am very happy and hopeful after learning that the Texas Court Of Criminal Appeals has granted Bernardo Aban Tercero a stay of execution," said Bianca Jagger, president of the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation and Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador for the Abolition of the Death Penalty. "His execution would constitute an egregious miscarriage of justice,” said Jagger. “Bernardo received abysmal legal representation and has never had a fair opportunity to raise critical mitigating evidence to avoid his death sentence. As a Nicaraguan and as a human rights defender who believes that the application of the death penalty is arbitrary, capricious and biased, I urge Gov. Abbott to grant Bernardo clemency.”