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Texas to execute Mexican national for murder and rape

By Jon Herskovitz

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Texas plans to execute on Wednesday Ramiro Hernandez, 44, a Mexican citizen who was convicted of bludgeoning a man to death and repeatedly raping his wife.

Texas is set to put Hernandez to death by lethal injection at 6 p.m. CDT at its death chamber in Huntsville. If the execution goes ahead, Hernandez would be the sixth convict executed in Texas this year and the 16th in the United States.

The Mexican government has tried to halt other executions of its citizens in the state, arguing Texas has not met international obligations concerning the treatment of foreign nationals taken into custody. It has appealed to Texas to halt the execution of Hernandez.

The Mexican Foreign Affairs Ministry has exhausted all remedies to stop the execution, said Euclides del Moral, the deputy director general for Protection of Mexicans Abroad.

Texas has usually proceeded with the executions despite the diplomatic protests.

Hernandez, a hired hand, was convicted of beating his employer Glen Lich to death with a metal bar in October 1997 in the south central Texas county of Bandera.

"(He) then ransacked the Lich residence and repeatedly sexually assaulted Lich's wife at knife-point," the Texas Attorney General's office said in statement.

A federal court had granted Hernandez a temporary stay of execution, saying the state needed to provide information about the supplier of the lethal injection drug.

The stay was reversed by a U.S. appeals court this week, which said there was no compelling evidence that protections provided by the U.S. Constitution would be violated under Texas' current procedures.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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