Father of Mexican facing execution in U.S. prays for retrial

MEXICO CITY Tue Jan 21, 2014 6:50pm EST

Mexican national Edgar Tamayo is pictured in this undated booking photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Huntsville, Texas, January 21, 2014. REUTERS/Texas Dept of Criminal Justice/Handout via Reuters

Mexican national Edgar Tamayo is pictured in this undated booking photo provided by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Huntsville, Texas, January 21, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Texas Dept of Criminal Justice/Handout via Reuters

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The father of Mexican inmate Edgar Tamayo, scheduled for execution in Texas on Wednesday, insists his son is innocent, and that his family is praying for a re-trial after the Mexican government said the sentence violated international law.

Hector Tamayo, who will visit his son on Wednesday, told local radio he has faith God will halt the execution.

Edgar Tamayo, 46, was convicted of killing a Houston police officer in 1994 while he was in the United States illegally.

"It is unjust what they want to do, knowing full well that he is not the guilty one, that he didn't kill the cop," Hector Tamayo said on Tuesday, speaking from Texas. "We have faith in God that the execution will be stopped and there will be a new trial.

"He tells us, his mom and I, that we must be strong, that only God has the last word."

The Mexican government said on Sunday the execution violated a 2004 ruling by the United Nations' International Court of Justice, which has demanded that the death sentences of 51 Mexican inmates, including Tamayo, be re-examined.

The Court ruled the prisoners were not made aware of the right to consular assistance at the time of their arrests.

Two of the 51 inmates have already been executed.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry said it attempted to stay the execution through various channels, including petitions in Texas courts and from high-ranking Mexican officials.

The case has drawn attention from across the world. Tamayo said his family had received letters of support from at least 67 countries.

In September, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry wrote a letter to Texas Governor Rick Perry urging him to reconsider Tamayo's execution because it could make it more difficult for the United States to help Americans in legal trouble abroad.

So far, there has been little sign Texas is willing to reconsider, arguing that it is not bound by the International Court of Justice ruling.

(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Simon Gardner and Andre Grenon)

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