Leeds lawyer teams up with former US president Carter

Jamie Hanley with former US president Jimmy Carter.
Jamie Hanley with former US president Jimmy Carter.
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ONE is the former leader of the most powerful nation on earth - the other is a humble Leeds lawyer.

But now Jamie Hanley is hoping to team up with former US president Jimmy Carter for a unique mercy mission.

Mr Hanley’s latest project is fighting for the rights of a group of Cuban prisoners and their families who have not seen each other for a decade.

And now he wants Mr Carter - a renowned human rights champion - to intervene in the case of the so-called Miami Five, who have been imprisoned in an American jail for more than 10 years on conspiracy and espionage charges.

The group’s supporters, who are lobbying for their release, say they have been falsely imprisoned - and they were only trying to protect their homeland from terrorists. A parallel campaign to allow their families visitation right is now gathering pace.

This follows Amnesty International’s conclusion that denying prisoners family visits is contrary to legal human rights standards.

Mr Hanley, 35, previously met Mr Carter in Jerusalem when they were part of a mission to oversee the Palestinian presidential elections in 2005.

And now, after returning from a meeting with some of the Miami Five’s families, he is turning to his Presidential pal again to ask him to raise the matter directly with President Barack Obama.

He is also hoping to do further lobbying against what he calls the “personal tragedies” of the prisoners’ wives and children.

“My view is that irrespective of what they are alleged to have done, it’s not right to deny them [family] visitation,” he said.

“I know President Carter’s work with his Carter Centre is very much committed to huma rights issues.”

In a letter to Mr Carter, Mr Hanley says: “In a meeting with the wives, mother and daughters of two of the imprisoned men, I was greatly moved to hear that [two of them] have been unable to see their husbands since they were imprisoned.

“It is clear that the families have done nothing wrong, yet they continue to suffer. In our world where free and democratic nations must lead by example, it cannot be a sustainable position for the American Government to continue to deny these most basic human visitation rights.”

Mr Hanley travelled to Cuba as part of a project with the Unite union and the UK’s Cuba Solidarity Campaign.

Jimmy Carter was the 39th President of the USA between 1977 and 1981. He received the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize.

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