FOREIGN NATIONALS: The Importance of Intervention for Citizens of Other Countries Facing U.S. Death Penalty

A new video prepared with international support discusses the importance of foreign embassies lending support when citizens of their countries face the death penalty in the United States.  According to Ambassador Joao Vale de Almedia, Head of the European Union Delegation to the U.S., “Foreign nationals are particularly vulnerable in death penalty cases. They’re most likely not to know the language perfectly, and certainly not know the way justice is administered in that particular country. So it’s only normal that they require particular attention and help.”  Article 36 of the Vienna Convention for Consular Relations, a bi-lateral treaty that the U.S. has signed and ratified, requires that foreign nationals arrested in the United States (or elsewhere) be told of their right to communicate with their consulate for assistance. The video features Council of Europe Goodwill Ambassador Bianca Jagger, as well as Ambassador Almedia and other legal experts, who describe some of the problems that foreign citizens face in the justice system and how consular officials can be of assistance.  There are about 136 foreign nationals on U.S. death rows from 37 different countries.

The video was produced by Reprieve, a London-based organization that provides effective legal representation and humanitarian assistance to people facing the death penalty.

("Foreign Nationals Facing the Death Penalty in the U.S.," Reprieve, May 18, 2012).  See Foreign Nationals. Listen to DPIC's podcast on International issues.