Death Penalty and Death Row in USA

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August 8, 2000

EU appeals to governor Bush to commute death penalty in Cruz case

Representatives of the European Union to the United States Tuesday appealed by letter to Governor George W. Bush to show compassion by commuting today's scheduled execution of Oliver Cruz, in keeping with internationally agreed standards of human rights and on the grounds of the inmate's mental retardation.

The EU is opposed to the death penalty in all cases. The EU considers that the abolition of the death penalty contributes to the enhancement of human dignity and the progressive development of human rights.

The appeal reads:

"We, as the representatives of the Presidency of the European Union, France, together with the next president, Sweden, and the European Commission wish to convey to you an urgent humanitarian appeal by the EU on behalf of Mr. Oliver Cruz. We make this request pursuant to the European Union's policy of seeking a global moratorium on the use of the death penalty, which we have long renounced in Europe.

The execution of Mr. Cruz, a U.S. citizen, is scheduled to be carried out by Texas State authorities on August 9, 2000. Mr. Cruz is considered by many experts to have deficient mental capacity and is considered mentally retarded, as stated by expert witnesses at his trial. We urge you to demonstrate compassion with regard to this case.

While Mr. Cruz has admitted his guilt for the crime, it is our opinion that his execution would additionally violate the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Resolution 1989/64 of 24 May 1989 on the implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty. This resolution recommends that United Nations Member States eliminate the death penalty for persons suffering from mental retardation or extremely limited mental competence, whether at the stage of sentence or execution. The EU considers that the execution of Mr. Cruz would be contrary to these generally accepted human rights norms.

The European Union respectfully urges you to commute Mr. Cruz's sentence to any other such penalty compatible with international law."

(source: Amnesty International)