Kris Maharaj case: 10,000th day in US jail for British man still protesting innocence over double murder
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Monday 03 March 2014
When Kris Maharaj wakes on Tuesday morning in his cell in the South Florida Reception Centre, it will be the 10,000th day that the Briton has spent in a US prison for a double murder he insists he did not commit.
For the 75-year-old former businessman, it will be another grim milestone after 27 years of incarceration following his conviction for shooting dead his business partner, Derrick Moo Young, and his son Duane in a Miami hotel in 1986.
His British lawyers warned that with his health failing, time is running out to secure the Trinidad-born Briton’s release on the basis of evidence which they say shows the killings were carried out by a Colombian drugs cartel while he was 30 miles away.
Prosecutors in Florida have in recent weeks blocked the release of fingerprint evidence which would allow defence lawyers to compare prints from three Colombian suspects to 19 unidentified sets of prints found at the murder scene.
In the meantime, Maharaj, who is now wheelchair-bound, was sent a letter in January informing him that his eligibility for parole will be considered in April 2042 as long as he stays “discipline free” for at least three months before the hearing, by which time he would be 103 years old. Campaigning group Reprieve said there was “compelling evidence” to prove the innocence of the Briton, who was initially sentenced to death but had his sentence commuted to life imprisonment in 2002 after it was accepted due process had not been followed in his trial.
Clive Stafford-Smith, director of Reprieve and Maharaj’s lawyer, said: “That Kris has spent 10,000 days in prison for a crime he did not commit is little more than legal kidnapping. That the state of Florida taunts him with the possibility of parole at the age of 103 borders on sadism. We desperately need help to win him justice.”
The lawyer has obtained statements from key members of the Colombian drugs gang now believed to have been behind the killings, including a former enforcer for the notorious Pablo Escobar, who insists that Maharaj did not commit the crime.
The campaigners have called on the Foreign Office to fulfil an undertaking to grant a £20,000 loan to fund expert evidence, which they claimed has since been reneged upon.
Maharaj’s wife, Marita, said: “When will this ordeal be over? Kris is very unwell, and he means everything to me. He has been bankrupt for 20 years and the British Government has reneged on its promise to lend us the money.”
The Foreign Office said it had offered a loan in “exceptional circumstances” while Maharaj was facing the death penalty and the offer expired when the threat of execution was removed.
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance
- 1 Nokia no more: Microsoft drops once-ubiquitous mobile name – in favour of its Lumia brand
- 2 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Isis releases first video showing the stoning of woman accused of committing adultery as her father shouts 'don't call me Dad'
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nathan Cirillo: Final pictures emerge of soldier moments before he was shot dead by Ottowa gunman
Ottawa shootings: Terror strikes Canadian capital as attacks leave one soldier and one suspect dead
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large organisa...
£23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...
£100 - £105 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, Adobe, ...