Human rights watchdog urges US to halt execution of Cuban Manuel Valle

August 23, 2011

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has urged the US to prevent the impending execution of Manuel Valle in Florida from going ahead. Mr Valle – a Cuban national with strong Spanish links who has been on death row for 33 years – is now facing execution after the Florida Supreme Court today lifted a stay which had been granted earlier this month. However, the Washington DC-based IACHR has asked for the execution to be postponed to allow the investigation of a range of concerns, including the apparent failure to provide Mr Valle with consular access and the possibility that a new execution drug may cause him intense pain and suffering. Mr Valle’s case is the latest in a growing list in which there have been apparent failures by US authorities to live up to their obligations under international law to provide consular access. Humberto Leal was executed by Texas earlier this year despite violations of the Vienna Convention on Consular Rights; while more recently, the Serbian Government lodged a formal protest in the US courts concerning the failure to provide consular access to one of their nationals, Avram Nika. The IACHR is also set to look into concerns about the use of a new execution drug, pentobarbital, to kill Mr Valle, which will put him at risk of severe pain and suffering in breach of Florida state and federal laws. They will also examine the apparent denial of proper clemency proceedings to Mr Valle by the state of Florida, despite the fact he has now been held on death row for over three decades. Tineke Harris, Director of Reprieve’s Death Penalty Team said: “It has to be hoped that the US Government listens to the IACHR and halts Manuel Valle’s execution while they examine these serious concerns. “The execution of Humberto Leal by Texas did terrible damage to the USA’s reputation around the world. They must not make the same mistake again.” ENDS Notes to editors 1. For further information, please contact Donald Campbell at Reprieve’s press office: donald.campbell@reprieve.org.uk / +44 (0) 20 7427 1082 / (0) 7791 755 415 2. The IACHR’s letter to Reprieve concerning the action taken on Manuel Valle’s case can be found on Reprieve’s website 3. Manuel Valle is being supported by legal action charity Reprieve’s EC Project 4. Further information on the case of Avram Nika, and the Serbian Government’s action, can be found on Reprieve’s website