Mexican officials are working to prevent one of the country's citizens from being executed by the state of Texas. United States Secretary of State John Kerry noted that the case could put Americans abroad at great risk.
Edgar Tamayo Arias is a Mexican-born citizen currently serving time in prison in Texas. He was found guilty of murdering a Houston police officer, whom he shot three times in the back of the head. Mexican officials want him brought back to the country because he did not receive adequate representation from the Mexican country.
"The Mexican government is opposed to the death penalty and has decided to use the necessary resources to protect its citizens who are in danger of receiving this sentence," the ministry told CNN.
American officials are also worried about the ramifications Arias' execution could have on international relations.
"I want to be clear: I have no reason to doubt the facts of Mr. Tamayo's conviction, and as a former prosecutor, I have no sympathy for anyone who would murder a police officer," Kerry said. "This is a process issue I am raising because it could impact the way American citizens are treated in other countries."
Arias is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Jan. 22. He came to the U.S. when he was just 19 in order to find work. He is now 46 years old and has "mild mental retardation," according to reports. His death would upset relations between the U.S. and Mexico, as well as put the death penalty under further spotlight in Texas.
Lawyers working on behalf of Arias have filed a lawsuit against Governor Rick Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons. The lawyers claim that Arias has not received a fair hearing for clemency and are withholding documents that could help the defense.
"Mr. Tamayo was never informed of his right to contact the consulate, as is stipulated in the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations; and, unlike other Mexicans already executed, he has not been granted any form of judicial review," Sandra Babcock, one of Arias' lawyer, told The Latin Times.
If Arias is executed, he would be the third Mexican executed on U.S. land following the International Court of Justice's order to the U.S. to review cases of Mexican citizens on death row for whose right to consular assistance and support had been denied or violated.