Seven Trinidadian men were convicted of hostage-taking Friday for their roles in the 2005 kidnapping of an American citizen.
The men face a mandatory life sentence under the federal hostage-taking statute. They were found guilty of abducting Balram Maharaj, a 61-year-old naturalized American citizen, who was vacationing in his home country. Maharaj, who was in poor health, died while tied to a tree in a forest hideaway. The dismembered remains of his body were later found by investigators.
The Maharaj case has been the largest foreign kidnapping case prosecuted in the United States this decade. Four other men pleaded guilty to their involvement, while another was acquitted in a separate trial. Prosecutors believe Maharaj’s former lover, with whom he had a child, concocted the plot to extort ransom money from his family.
The former lover, Doreen Alexander, remains in prison in Trinidad. She is the only suspect to be arrested who has not been extradited to the United States.
Assistant U.S. attorneys Bruce Hegyi and Emily Miller prosecuted the case. Judge John Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia presided over the trial.