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Mexican National Executed In Texas After Supreme Court Denies Appeal

Wednesday's execution of a Mexican national in Texas revived a long-running diplomatic row between the United States and its southern neighbor.

Updated at 10:50 p.m. ET: Execution Carried Out

The Associated Press reports:

"A Mexican man has been executed in Texas for killing a Houston police officer, despite pleas and diplomatic pressure from the Mexican government and the U.S. State Department to halt the punishment.

"Forty-six-year-old Edgar Tamayo received a lethal injection Wednesday evening for the January 1994 fatal shooting of 24-year-old Officer Guy Gaddis."

The Houston Chronicle also reported the execution.

Updated at 10:40 p.m. ET: U.S. Supreme Court rejects appeals

The Associated Press reports:

"The U.S. Supreme Court rejected appeals Wednesday night for Mexican national Edgar Tamayo, clearing the way for the Texas death row inmate to be executed for the slaying of a Houston police officer 20 years ago.

"Tamayo's execution had been scheduled for 6 p.m. for the slaying of Officer Guy Gaddis, 24, but the death warrant remained in effect until midnight."

Update at 8:15 p.m. ET: Execution Is Put On Hold

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering appeals in the case of Edgar Arias Tamayo, as The Dallas Morning News reports. From the newspaper's AP story:

"The high court was considering at least two appeals. One focused on the consular issue. The other was related to whether Tamayo was mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty. The execution warrant remains in effect until midnight."

We've made slight changes to this post to reflect the update from Texas.

Our original post continues:

As The New York Times reports, Secretary of State John Kerry is asking Texas to delay the execution of Tamayo, 46, to allow time for a court to look into whether his arrest violated international law.

Essentially, the World Court has found that American authorities did not tell Tamayo and other Mexican nationals that they had a right to seek consular assistance.

The New York Times adds:

" 'This has nothing to do with the behavior and the consequences that that behavior had,' Mexico's ambassador to the United States, Eduardo Medina Mora, said in an interview. 'A court has to examine the consequences of that violation, a violation that has been conceded by both the United States and the State of Texas.'

"In 2004, the top judicial body of the United Nations — the International Court of Justice, informally known as the World Court — ordered the United States to review the convictions of Mr. Tamayo and 50 other Mexican citizens whose Vienna Convention rights were violated and who were on death row in the United States. Texas has executed two other Mexicans whose cases were part of the World Court's order. Those two had their convictions reviewed in connection with the Vienna Convention violations, but no United States court has done so in Mr. Tamayo's case."

The Los Angeles Times reports that Kerry told Texas that executing Mexican nationals has the potential of affecting the way Americans are treated overseas.

As we've reported, this issue last surfaced in 2011, when Texas executed Humberto Leal Garcia Jr. The Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to step in and it refused.

The court did issue an opinion in the case of Jose Medellin in 2008. The Bush administration had asked Texas to abide by the decision of the ICJ and review the cases of all Mexican nationals. The high court ruled Bush did not have any authority to order that but Congress could pass legislation requiring Texas to comply.

Medellin was executed months after the Supreme Court handed down its opinion.

Tamayo, who was convicted of killing a Houston police officer, had been scheduled to be put to death Wednesday afternoon before the execution was put on hold.

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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