U.S. judge tosses motion by T&T hostage-takers

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) — A U.S. judge has rejected an attempt by seven Trinidadian men to overturn their convictions in a hostage-taking that resulted in the death of a 62-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen.

The men argued their convictions should be invalidated because the victim did not meet naturalization qualifications.

In his Wednesday ruling, U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates in Washington, D.C., says the seven do not have standing to launch proceedings to revoke the U.S. citizenship of the victim.

Gunmen snatched Balram Maharaj from a bar in Trinidad in April 2005 and held him for ransom. The body of the Vietnam War veteran were found in a forest in January 2006.

The men were convicted in a U.S. trial in 2009.

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