Foreign Nationals

Foreign Nationals Under Sentence of Death in the U.S.

This information has been provided by Mark Warren of Human Rights Research.

TOTAL: 125 (as of October 5, 2019)

TOTAL NATIONALITIES REPRESENTED: 32

Foreign Nationals Under Sentence of Death in the U.S. By Foreign Nationality

Active Death Sentences

CountryNumber
Mexico 50
Cuba 8
Vietnam 8
El Salvador 8
Honduras 5
Cambodia 4
Guatemala 3
Canada 2
Colombia 2
Dominican Republic 2
Iran 2
Jamaica 2
Laos 2
Philippines 2
Argentina 1
Armenia 1
Bahamas 1
Bangladesh 1
China 1
Costa Rica 1
Egypt 1
France 1
Germany 1
Haiti 1
Lebanon 1
Lithuania 1
Nicaragua 1
Russia 1
St. Kitts and Nevis / UK 1
Tonga1

Awaiting Retrial or Resentencing

Mexico (2 sentences reversed on appeal)

2

Trinidad (overturned under Hurst v. Florida) 2
Bahamas (overturned under Hurst v. Florida) 1
Estonia (sentenced reversed on appeal) 1
Jamaica (overturned under Hurst v. Florida) 1
Serbia (sentence reversed on appeal)1
Vietnam (overturned under Hurst v. Florida) 1

Foreign Nationals Under Sentence of Death in the U.S. by State of Confinement

TOTALS BY JURISDICTION: All State Jurisdictions (121); All Federal Jurisdictions (4)— California (60), Texas (18), Florida (17), Pennsylvania (6), Nevada (5), Louisiana (3), Arizona (2), Ohio (2), Georgia (2), Oregon (2), Alabama (1), Montana (1), Mississippi (1), Nebraska (1).

Totals include all reported foreign nationals under sentence of death, including those awaiting new sentencing hearings and cases in which the individual’s nationality is disputed. Confirmed cases of dual citizenship (individuals possessing both U.S. citizenship and that of another country) are not listed. For more information, see dual nationality below.

List of Symbols in Table Below

  • foreign nationality independently confirmed
  • Female
  • facing possible execution in the near future
  • awaiting re-sentencing or new trial after appellate court ruling
  • awaiting formal sentencing by trial court
  • cases in which a violation of consular rights has been raised in court proceedings or otherwise directly reported.
  • cases in which notification of consular rights was reportedly provided by authorities without delay (i.e. upon arrest, or prior to booking for detention).
  • cases in which a consular rights violation is disputed
  • I claim of innocence raised on appeal (incomplete data)
  • M cases of reported mental illness, intellectual disability or brain damage (incomplete data)
  • D inmate with INS detention number, but for whom no nationality has been specified
  • ? cases of possible dual nationality


StateNameNotesCountry of
Citizenship
Multiple
Sources
Alabama
(1)
Mohammad SharifiIran
Arizona
(2)
Fabio Evelio GomezDominican Republic
Michael Apelt⚠ MGermany
California
(60)
Run Peter ChhounCambodia
Mao HinCambodia
Samreth Sam PanCambodia
Charles NgChina (Hong Kong)
Manuel Machado AlvarezCuba
John GhobrialEgypt
Julian BeltranEl Salvador
Irving RamirezEl Salvador
Tauno Waidla⚠☀Estonia
Jose Francisco Guerra⚠ MGuatemala
Cristhian Antonio MonterrosoGuatemala
Cristian Tomas PerezGuatemala
Osman Alex CanalesHonduras
Johnny MoralesHonduras
Edgardo Fuentes SánchezHonduras
Hooman Ashkan PanahIran
Ka PasasoukLaos
Vaene SivongxxayLaos
Santiago Martinez AlonsoMexico
Ignacio Tafoya ArriolaMexico
Eduardo David Vargas BarocioMexico
Marcos Esquivel BarreraMexico
Ramon Salcido BojorquezMexico
Luis Enrique Monrroy BracamontesMexico
Miguel Enrique Felix BurgosMexico
Jose Lupercio CasaresMexico
Tomas Verano CruzMexico
Pedro Espinosa DavilaMexico
Enrique Parra DuenasMexico
Jose Luis Leon EliasMexico
Martin Mendoza GarciaMexico
Adrian Camacho GilMexico
Victor Miranda GuerreroMexico
Carlos Avena Guillen⚠☀Mexico
Juan Manuel Lopez HernandezMexico
Luis Alberto Maciel HernandezMexico
Santiago Pineda HernandezMexico
Jaime Armando HoyosMexico
Abelino Manriquez JacquezMexico
Samuel Zamudio JimenezMexico
Jorge Contreras Lopez⚠ IMexico
Omar Fuentes MartinezMexico
Hector Juan Ayala MedranoMexico
Carlos Martinez MendivilMexico
Huber Joel Mendoza Novoa⚠MMexico
Francisco Beltran MezaMexico
Magdaleno Salazar NavaMexico
Ruben Gomez PerezMexico
Juan Sanchez Ramirez⚠ IMexico
Alfredo Valdez ReyesMexico
Victor Manuel Rojas (Daniel Cervantes)Mexico
Alfredo Valencia SalazarMexico
Arturo Juarez SuarezMexico
Sergio Ochoa Tamayo⚠ MMexico
Jesus Penuelas VelasquezMexico
Juan de Dios Ramirez VillaMexico
Sonny EnracaPhilippines
Hung Thanh MaiViet Nam
Lam NguyenViet Nam
Dung Anh TrinhViet Nam
Florida
(17)
Dolan Darling⚠☀Bahamas
Ian LightbournBahamas
Guillermo ArbelaezMColombia
Rory Enrique CondeColombia
Terance ValentineCosta Rica
Omar BlancoCuba
Ana Maria CardonaCuba
Jesus DelgadoCuba
Leonardo FranquiCuba
Pablo San MartinCuba
Marbel MendozaCuba
Manolo RodriguezCuba
Lancelot ArmstrongJamaica
Robert GordonJamaica
Dane Abdool?☀Trinidad
Noel DoorbalTrinidad
Tai A. PhamVietnam
Georgia
(2)
Joaquin ArevaloEl Salvador
Pablo Maldonado ZequeidaMexico
Louisiana
(3)
Manuel Ortiz⚠IEl Salvador
Michael LeGrand?France
Thao Tan LamViet Nam
Mississippi (1)Thong LeViet Nam
Montana (1)Ronald SmithCanada
Nebraska (1)Jorge Galindo EspriellaMexico
Nevada
(5)
Avetis ArchanianArmenia
Carlos Rene Perez Gutierrez⚠☀Mexico
Ralph Simon JeremiasPhilippines
Avram Vineto Nika⚠☀Serbia
Sioasi VanisiTonga
Ohio
(2)
Abdul AwkalMLebanon
Jose Trinidad Loza VenturaMexico
Oregon
(2)
Horacio Alberto Reyes Camarena⚠ MMexico
Ricardo Serrano PiñedaMexico
Pennsylvania
(6)
Thavirak SamMCambodia
Borgela PhilistinHaiti
Albert ReidJamaica
Miguel Padilla LozanoMexico
Cam LyVietnam
Tam Minh LeVietnam
Texas
(18)
Victor SaldanoArgentina
Syed RabbaniBangladesh
Obel Cruz GarciaDominican Republic
Gilmar Alexander GuevaraEl Salvador
Hector Medina RomeroEl Salvador
Walter Alexander SortoEl Salvador
Dennis Zelaya Corea (Carlos Ayestas)Honduras
Edgardo CubasHonduras
Juan Carlos Alvarez BandaMexico
Areli Escobar CarbajalMexico
Felix Rocha DiazMexico
Cesar Roberto Fierro Reyna⬅ ⚠ I MMexico
Ramiro Ibarra RubiMexico
Juan Lizcano RuizMMexico
Gustavo Tijerina SandovalMexico
Bernardo TerceroNicaragua
Linda Carty♀ ⬅ ⚠St. Kitts/ UK
Chuong Duong TongVietnam
Federal
(4)
Robert Bolden⚠ ?Canada
Alejandro UmanaEl Salvador
Jurijus KadamovasLithuania
Iouri MikhelRussia

Notes

Solely for the purposes of this list, a “foreign national” is any individual under sentence of death in the USA who does not possess U.S. citizenship. More generally, foreign nationals in the United States would include: tourists and visitors, migrant workers with temporary permits, resident aliens, undocumented aliens, asylum-seekers, and persons in transit. Foreign citizens comprise a significant portion of the population: more than 60 million foreigners visit the United States annually from overseas and approximately 22 million U.S residents are non-citizens (according to the 2012 data from the U.S. Census Bureau).

Along with the general consular notification obligations that apply under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, the USA has also negotiated separate bilateral consular agreements applicable to some 50 countries. Under the terms of most of these agreements, there is a mandatory obligation to promptly notify the consulate of an arrest irrespective of the national’s wishes (typically within a specified time period, such as 72 hours following the detention).

Dual Nationality

Individuals retaining dual nationality who are arrested in one of their countries of citizenship are problematic for the purposes of consular notification under the VCCR (which makes no reference to dual citizenship). Individuals are listed provisionally if a report is received that they possess citizenship in a country other than the USA; if U.S. citizenship is later confirmed, the name is removed from this list.

The U.S. Department of State has taken the position that individuals who retain U.S. citizenship along with another nationality are not entitled to notification of consular rights if arrested in the USA. At a minimum, however, foreign consulates in the United States retain the right to communicate with and visit their citizens in custody, irrespective of dual nationality. Many countries have asserted a right to provide consular protection to dual nationals arrested in their other country of citizenship, particularly in life-threatening situations and denial of consular notification to dual nationals may deny the accused access to consular assistance in investigating and preparing his or her guilt or penalty defenses. While the scope of consular rights for this category of dual nationals may be open to some interpretation, all non-U.S. citizens detained or arrested in the USA are unquestionably entitled to the full range of consular rights afforded under international law.

Sources of Information

Since U.S. authorities do not always accurately list or report incarcerated individuals by nationality, it is difficult to identify and verify all foreign nationals under sentence of death. For instance, a recent U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics survey noted that a reported 95,977 noncitizens were held in custody at midyear 2010, but also indicated that the criteria used to determine foreign nationality varied widely by state. There is no accessible national registry of death-sentenced foreigners (although the USCIS data base of deportable aliens serving prison terms would likely include all known foreign nationals on death row nationwide). Compounding the problem is the still-widespread failure of U.S. law enforcement officials to notify detained foreigners of their consular rights. Without this notification and subsequent communication at the request of the detained national, foreign consulates in the United States are likely to remain unaware of the true number of their nationals who are imprisoned, let alone sentenced to death.

The information for this list comes from a variety of sources, including appellate attorneys, post-conviction resource centers, trial counsel, prosecutors, newspaper articles, journalists, consulates, and prison officials.

Research to date indicates that there are no foreign nationals currently on death row in South Carolina. There is as yet no complete data from a number of U.S. states with significant death row populations, including Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. A comprehensive list would likely include some 145 names (i.e., roughly 5% of the total U.S. death row population).

A name is included on the list if it is confirmed by at least one reliable contact. The eventual goal is to verify the nationalities of all individuals on this list from two or more independent sources. At present, approximately three-quarters of the names have been corroborated by multiple independent sources.

I welcome any and all additional information on this subject.

Mark Warren, Human Rights Research
e-mail
tel: (613) 256-8308


Human Rights Research provides information on consular rights issues in death penalty cases, along with international legal consulting and research services to attorneys, consulates and non-governmental organizations.