The execution of Edgar Arias Tamayo raises issues of fundamental fairness and a willingness to comply with obligations bigger than state law
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Edgar Tamayo Arias, 46, an undocumented immigrant worker from Morelos, Mexico, imprisoned on death row for the last two decades, was killed late Wednesday night with a lethal injection in the death chamber of the state penitentiary in Huntsville, Texas, 70 miles north of Houston.
The act of state murder was carried out with flagrant contempt for international law and basic rights after the US Supreme Court rejected Tamayo's appeal. "The application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to Justice Scalia and by him referred to the Court is denied," the court said in a terse statement Wednesday night. Scheduled to take place at 6 p.m. Central Time, the high court's cursory consideration of Tamayo's fate delayed the killing for just three-and-a-half hours.
Tamayo was sentenced to die after being convicted of the January 1994 killing of a Houston, Texas police officer, Guy Gaddis, who had arrested him as a robbery suspect.
The execution was in direct defiance of a 10-year-old ruling by the United Nations' International Court of Justice, known as the World Court, which found the US in violation of a 1963 international treaty known as the Vienna Convention Consular Relations. The treaty requires that foreign nationals arrested in any country be informed in a timely fashion of their right to seek assistance from their country's consular officials. The court ordered the US to reconsider the convictions of 51 Mexicans, one of whom was Tamayo.