The State Department calculated that 4,456 Americans were arrested abroad in 2006, up from 3,614 in 2005. The bulk of those arrests occurred in Mexico. For an American sitting in a filthy, dark jail cell in a foreign land, it's easy to be overwhelmed by hopelessness. One thing makes the nightmare bearable: the guaranteed visit from an American consular official.
Many foreign governments permit this visit because they know that the full weight of American diplomatic pressure will come to bear on them if they do not.
Yes, Mr. Perry can flex the state's judicial muscle and show the world that Texans don't bow to the whims of some distant, obscure international court. But it would send an unequivocal message to all foreign governments – especially Mexico – that this country doesn't stand by its promises. They can justifiably point to Mr. Perry's example if they decide not to be bound by this or other important treaties in the future.
This is a heavy weight to put on one man's shoulders, but Mr. Perry, your decision could set the course for international events of far greater importance than the fate of a single, confessed killer. It's time to put the interests of this country and its citizens first and halt Mr. Medellín's execution.
Texas Moratorium Network (TMN) is a non-profit organization with the primary goal of mobilizing statewide support for a moratorium on executions in Texas. Significant death penalty reform in Texas, including a moratorium on executions, is a viable goal if the public is educated on the death penalty system and is encouraged to contact their elected representatives to urge passage of moratorium legislation.
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