Lovells pro bono officer Yasmin Waljee is working with 14 Tooks Court barrister Hugh Southey on the legal battle to save UK national Tracy Housel from execution in the US
Waljee and the set are working with lawyers from the Federal Defence Programme in Atlanta as part of a massive legal and political lobbying campaign to save Housel from the sentence. Housel was sentenced to death in 1987 for the murder of Jean Drew, but a raft of trial issues have called the sentence into question.
"I think there could almost be an argument under Article 2 of the Human Rights Act to protect a national" Yasmin Waljee, Lovells
Housel's final judicial hope is a US Supreme Court ruling, which is expected on 25 February. The Law Society and the Bar Council Human Rights Committee, together with more than 100 MPs, have signed amicus curiae legal submissions on fair trial issues to the court. If the decision goes against him, Waljee and 14 Tooks Court will be involved in an appeal to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. They will be under considerable time pressure, as an execution date is likely to be set within 10-20 days of the Supreme Court ruling. The campaign group is hoping that Prime Minister Tony Blair will intervene before this crucial stage. Waljee said: "I think there could almost be an argument under Article 2 of the Human Rights Act to protect a national. "Whether a Government's duty extends to nationals in overseas jurisdictions hasn't been tested, but we could argue that they should take reasonable steps to protect the lives of nationals overseas."