Vybz Kartel has been subjected to extremely inhumane conditions while in prison, according to his controversial lawyer.
Isat Buchanan gave an exclusive statement to Urban Islandz, in which he claimed that his client — who is in “ill health” — was being subjected to up to 23 hours a day in solitary confinement. This claim, which was made on Thursday (May 25), was being used by Buchanan to argue the dancehall legend’s case before the courts.
“The concerns are two-fold. The Department of Corrections does not have adequate facilities to care for persons with ill health while incarcerated as a guest of the state,” he said to the outlet. “Mr. Palmer is under private treatment at his expense. It is within the knowledge of prison officials that his health is a concern.”
He continued: “To be placed under a 23-hour lockdown as an appellant given the state of his health is most unfortunate. His medical condition requires access to clean air. Breathing is essential to life that is common sense. It is inhumane punishment [to] execute this form of punishment on Mr Palmer and others given the state of the prisons.”
An Instagram post made on the “Vybz Kartel Muzik” page, which is cited as the artist’s record label page, echoed the claims made by Buchanan, adding that the artist’s life was “in danger.”
“Since Tuesday the superintendent at tower street adult correctional centre, Superintendent Campbell has given strict orders to have Adidja Palmer aka Vybz Kartel under 23 hours lock down in a poorly ventilated cell despite his failing health at the tower street adult correctional centre as a form of apparent draconian style punishment,” the post read in part.
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“Vybz Kartel’s family also gave an exclusive statement to the outlet, claiming that the Perfect Summer artist was being subjected to this treatment because prison guards allegedly found contraband cell phones in the cellblock — and, according to the family, Vybz Kartel is the only one who is being punished even though other prisoners are just as guilty of the transgression,” it concluded.
“Strangely enough, in addition to the 100s of cell phones found daily at that institution, thousands at lockups across the island, the supt seems to have ill will against Kartel,” a representative for the family said.
While an independent report conducted by The Death Penalty Project in London revealed that Jamaican prisons are notoriously less-than-sanitary, and that extreme punishments are often meted out for minor transgressions, Buchanan has a bit of a controversial reputation in Jamaica.
In 2022, he was found guilty of professional misconduct by the Disciplinary Committee of the General Legal Council (GLC), according to LoopNews. He was charged because of his unprofessional representation of Vybz Kartel in court, during which Buchanan accused the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) of “seeking to frustrate the defence’s bid to gain access to the entertainer’s phone which had been seized as evidence in the artiste’s murder trial,” per the outlet.
The Department of Prisons didn’t return Urban Islandz request for comment at press time.
In 2014, Vybz Kartel was found guilty of the murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He is currently appealing his conviction.