Kris Maharaj, an innocent Briton imprisoned in the US for 22 years: plea for clemency denied by Governor Crist

June 5, 2008

Image of hands on a fence

Kris Maharaj, an innocent Briton imprisoned in the US for 22 years has had his plea for clemency denied by Governor Crist.

After an epic miscarriage of justice spanning 22 years, in which the combined efforts of Reprieve and Freshfields have exposed the fact that the two men supposedly killed by British citizen Kris Maharaj were in fact killed in a hit by Colombian drug kings, Governor Crist of Florida has summarily denied clemency to Mr. Maharaj, perhaps with one eye on his ambition to be Senator John McCain’s vice presidential nomination in the 2008 presidential elections.

Kris Mararaj, 69, is suffering from severe medical problems, and both he and his long-suffering wife, Marita, 70, are crushed by this decision. Reprieve Director, Clive Stafford Smith, who has worked for Kris for more than 16 years, said:

“This is a devastating blow. I have represented a lot of people in capital cases over the years, and I have never seen such a case of innocence as this. The battle must go on for Kris, because he has only one life to live, and he will not last much longer in the maximum security prisons of Florida.”


Notes for Editors

For 22 years, British businessman Kris (Krishna) Maharaj, 69, has been imprisoned in the United States for a crime he did not commit – the 1986 murder of two Jamaican businessmen in Miami. 15 of those years were spent on Death Row. In 1997, a Florida court overturned Krishna’s death sentence, but in 2002 he was re-sentenced to life in prison. The Federal and Florida Courts refused to grant him a full retrial, and it seemed, therefore, that his last hope was the plea for clemency that has just been refused by Governor Crist.


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