Virginia Executes Paraguayan

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Virginia governor Jim Gilmore put U.S. justice above foreign policy concerns when he declined to stay the execution last night of Paraguayan national Angel Francisco Breard. Breard died by lethal injection at the Greenville Correctional Center for the 1992 murder and attempted rape of his Arlington neighbor Ruth Dickie.

The World Court had appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to postpone the execution in order to consider Paraguay’s claim that Breard might have received a lesser sentence had law enforcement officials not breached international convention by failing to inform the Paraguayan consulate of his arrest. Madeleine Albright made a similar appeal to Gilmore. “The State Department intervened because it has to protect the interests of U.S. citizens living overseas,” says TIME correspondent Douglas Waller. “They didn’t want this to be taken as an excuse by foreign governments to deny U.S. citizens the right to contact their consulate if they get into trouble.” Governor Gilmore’s response was that delaying the execution would transfer authority from American courts to international courts.