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Four months after losing his case at the Supreme Court, a Mexican citizen facing execution next week in Texas asked the justices Friday for a last-minute reprieve.

Jose Medellin, set to die Tuesday for his participation in the gang rape and beating deaths of two Houston girls, said that the high court should block his execution until Texas grants him a new hearing to comply with an international court ruling.

The state has so far refused, and the court ruled in March that neither President Bush nor the international court can force Texas' hand. But Medellin says Congress or the Texas legislature should be given a chance to pass a law ordering a new hearing before he can be executed.

Four Democratic lawmakers have introduced such a bill in Congress, but it probably will not be acted upon this year. The Texas legislature does not meet again until January.

Medellin is one of roughly 50 Mexicans on death rows around the nation who were denied prompt access to their country's consular officials after being arrested in the United States. The access is guaranteed by international treaty.


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