Kris Maharaj: New Campaign to free British businessman from 35-year Florida death penalty hell

Free Kris Crowdfunder

Kris Maharaj: New Campaign to free British businessman from 35-year Florida death penalty hell

Human Rights lawyer Clive Stafford Smith is launching the 3DC, a new not-for-profit which opens doors to careers in human rights, climate action and economic justice, inspiring the next generation of justice advocates.

A number of 3DC apprentices are working to free Kris Maharaj, the British-Trinidadian businessman who has spent 35 years in the Florida state prison system for a crime did not commit.

Kris Maharaj was wrongfully convicted in 1987 of a double murder that took place in Miami on October 16, 1986. After 15 years on death row, Kris was re-sentenced to life imprisonment: another kind of death sentence as he is not eligible for parole until he is 101. Kris, 82, remains in jail – in poor health, unvaccinated and at risk of Covid-19.

Kris’ loyal wife Marita has stood by his side throughout.  “It feels more than 35 years. It feels like an eternity,” says Marita.  “It’s like a nightmare that you cannot ever wake up from.”  Due to Covid-19 restrictions, Marita has been unable to visit Kris for 2 years and their contact is reduced to brief 5-minute phonecalls.  They are desperate to be reunited and to return home to the UK.

25th November is Marita’s 82nd birthday and marks the launch of a new 6-part Audible podcast: Abuse of Power: The State of Florida vs Krishna Maharaj.  Defence lawyers Sonya Pfeiffer and David Rudolf explore the case for Kris’ innocence, police and judicial corruption in 1980s Miami and the flawed criminal justice system in the US.  The podcast features interviews with those involved in the case.

“Kris’ case has more evidence that was covered up than any of the several hundred other capital cases I have done in four decades,” says Kris’ lawyer Clive Stafford Smith who has been representing him pro bono for the past 28 years.  Clive estimates the investigation so far to have taken 10,000 hours, which would cost $10 million in fees if this were a corporate case.  Amid other costs of launching the non-profit, the 3DC must find investigation funds to source new evidence in a legal battle that is likely to go all the way to the US Supreme Court in 2022.

6 cartel members and a former Miami law enforcement officer have confirmed that Kris was framed for the double-murder of Derrick and Duane Moo Young, who were laundering money for Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel and stealing a cut. New evidence reveals that one of the cartel conspirators, Adam Hosein, had previously escaped justice in the notorious murder of Muriel McKay, when the other Hosein brothers were convicted in a botched attempt to kidnap Rupert Murdoch’s wife in Wimbledon, in 1969.

Kris’ original trial was deeply flawed.  Kris’s trial lawyer offered no defence. At least 6 alibi witnesses put Kris 30 miles away from the scene of the crime at the time of the murders – but none was called to testify.  One of the key witnesses repeatedly changed his story and failed a lie detector test whilst another did a bargain with prosecutors.  Three days into the trial, the judge was arrested for taking bribes.  Significantly, exculpatory evidence was hidden by the prosecution, including the contents of the Moo Youngs’ briefcase which indicated they were laundering billions of dollars for the cartel.

It has been a long and difficult battle in the US courts to free Kris.  In November 2020, a federal judge again ruled that mere innocence cannot result in Kris’ release. The same judge refused to order disclosure of the smoking gun: law enforcement documents showing that the authorities knew that the cartel did the murders as early as Christmas 1986, just days after Kris’ arrest.

The 3DC Crowdfunder campaign began at 12pm on Thursday 25th November to raise funds to help challenge this injustice and many others.

Clive Stafford Smith

Clive is a human rights lawyer best known for his work on behalf of prisoners on death row in the United States and detainees in Guantánamo Bay. He founded the Louisiana Capital Assistance Center in New Orleans that facilitated the careers of scores of justice warriors, as well as the UK human rights charity Reprieve, an organisation that fights for the victims of extreme human rights abuses with legal action and public education.  In 2000, Clive was honoured with an OBE for humanitarian services in the legal field.


Crowdfunder campaign: freekrismaharaj


Twitter: 3dc_org

Instagram: 3dc_org


1 Comment

  1. Mary Mahadeo - January 30, 2022

    This has to be the sadest case and worst injustice I have ever seen. It literally upsets me so much and I don’t even know this man. The system is so crooked and the judges in this case disgusts me. Why is it possible to take someone’s whole life away when they are innocent and why is it they could care less that they hold that person’s life in their hands. I’m really am in disbelief of how corrupt the entire system is and how much politics play a part in taking innocent lives.

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