Florida court to hear evidence of Kris Maharaj’s innocence 27 years after death sentence

November 10, 2014

Nearly three decades on from receiving a death sentence, Krishna “Kris” Maharaj today sees the start of a full evidentiary hearing in his case which could prove his innocence.

In 1987, Mr Maharaj was convicted of the murder of two men in Miami, Florida and sentenced to death.  However, since then doubts have been cast over the safety of his conviction.  In 2002, due to violations in due process at his trial, his death sentence was overturned; and in April this year, a Miami judge granted Mr Maharaj a full evidentiary hearing on the basis of new evidence filed by his lawyers.

Clive Stafford Smith, Mr Maharaj’s lawyer and director of international legal non-profit Reprieve, has unearthed new evidence pointing to the Medellin drug cartel – run by the notorious Pablo Escobar – as the real culprit of the murder of Duane and Derrick Moo Young .

Highlights of that new evidence include: admissions by former Medellin cartel members that they and not Kris Maharaj were responsible for the murders;  admissions by former Miami police and those closely associated with law enforcement that they framed Mr Maharaj and had a deal to help cover up Colombian cartel murders; and evidence that the room opposite the murder scene in a Miami hotel on the day of the crime was occupied by one Jaime Vallejo Mejia, a Colombian then wanted for his involvement in a cartel laundering case involving $40 million.

A hearing to consider this evidence will get underway today (November 10th) in the 11th District Court in Miami.

Clive Stafford Smith said: “How many cartel members must come forward to say that they did the crime before the US authorities finally accept that this 75 year old man is innocent? So long as they keep Kris Maharaj in prison, the authorities are really just defending Pablo Escobar for one of his many murders.  The US legal system has simply got the wrong man – justice must be done, and Kris must be released.”

ENDS

For further information, please contact Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 553 8160 or see http://www.reprieve.org.uk/cases/krishnamaharaj/