Texas executes Mexican man who killed family

15 November 2018 - 15:40
A cemetery for prisoners, with some three thousand graves in Huntsville, Texas. Grave markers with an
Image: AFP PHOTO / CHANTAL VALERY A cemetery for prisoners, with some three thousand graves in Huntsville, Texas. Grave markers with an "X" or the word "Executed" indicate the prisoner was put to death.

The state of Texas executed a Mexican man who was sentenced to death after being convicted of killing his wife and two small children.

Roberto Moreno Ramos, 64, was put to death by lethal injection in the penitentiary at Huntsville, Texas, the state corrections system said.

He was sentenced to death in 1993 for bludgeoning his wife and two of their children, aged seven and three, with a sledgehammer in 1992 in the town of Progreso, near the Mexican border, where the family had been living for several years.

Ramos hid the bodies under the tiling of the bathroom in their house and three days later married his mistress, who had no idea he was married.

The bodies were found two months later.

During his 25 years on death row, Ramos' lawyers have argued in vain that he suffered from brain damage and is bipolar.

Mexico and human rights groups have long maintained that Ramos was not informed that he could have access to legal aid from the Mexican consulate, a right guaranteed by the 1963 Geneva Convention of which the US is a signatory.

His execution would constitute "a flagrant violation of human rights and international law," the Mexican government said Monday.

After the execution, the Mexican government government issued a statement condemning it.

"The death penalty is a grave violation of human rights and cruel and inhuman sanction," it said.

UN experts have said the execution would be "arbitrary" while the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights called on Texas to "fully respect its international human rights obligations."

In 2003, the Mexican government took Ramos' case, and those of 50 other Mexicans on death row in the United States, to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

The court agreed that they had been denied their consular rights and ordered their cases to be re-examined.

But the US Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that US states were not obliged to implement decisions of the ICJ.

Since then, five Mexican nationals have been executed, all of them in Texas, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Twenty people have been executed so far this year in the United States, 10 of them in Texas.