New evidence may free Ramesh’s brother

AFTER spending 27 years in a United States prison for a gruesome double murder in 1986, the brother of former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, SC, stands a final chance of being released after his attorneys discovered new statements revealing the killings were not carried out by him, but instead by the Colombian drug cartel.
In an article published yesterday on the website, lawyers representing Krishna Maharaj, 74, came upon the statements which included sworn evidence from “El Asistente”, an enforcer for the infamous Pablo Escobar, who was killed in 1993.
However, those pieces of evidence were not used during Maharaj’s last appeal in 2003, when his death sentence was overturned. He is not eligible for release until 2040.
The new evidence is expected to be heard sometime next month at Maharaj’s final appeal.
According to the article, “El Asistente” said: ‘I am giving this [statement] because I have reconnected with  my religious faith. The idea that Krishna Maharaj has served more than a quarter-century in prison for a crime I know he did not commit appalls me. I want to set the record straight and ensure he gets justice.”
Maharaj was sentenced to death after being found guilty of murdering Florida businessman Derrick Moo Young, 53, and his 23-year-old son, Duane, after they were both found dead from gunshot wounds in a room of the Miami Dupont Plaza Hotel in October 1986.
During the trial, the prosecution had claimed Maharaj murdered the two after Moo Young embezzled £300,000 from a business they had both set up.
However, Maharaj had maintained throughout the trial that at the time of the murders, he was 30 miles away, having lunch. His fingerprints were discovered in the room where the bodies were found, but Maharaj had argued he was let into the room to attend a business meeting earlier in the day, but the person he was waiting on did not show up so he later left.
The article stated five witnesses whose evidence supported Maharaj’s alibi were never called to testify at the trial.
It further stated: “It was just months after Mr (Clive) Stafford Smith became Maharaj’s lawyer in 1994 that he first discovered crucial documents which had been hidden all along in police files.
“They revealed that at the time of their deaths, the Moo Youngs were negotiating to buy a Panamanian bank for £400 million and were involved in bond deals worth £3 billion.
“Analysis of their financial records by accountants Ernst & Young states the Moo Youngs’ real business was money-laundering—on a mind-boggling scale. But rich as they were, the analysis says, they were also greedy, skimming an extra one per cent from every deal they did for their cartel clients.”
Attempts to contact Ramesh Maharaj yesterday evening for comment proved futile, as all calls to his cellphone went unanswered.
—Rickie Ramdass
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