Vybz Kartel Takes Government To Court For Breach Of Constitutional Rights

Vybz Kartel's attorney follows through on threats to take legal action as the dancehall legend's health deteriorates in prison due to inhumane solitary confinement

Vybz Kartel
Vybz Kartel

Dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel has filed an application against the government of Jamaica over his continued solitary confinement at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Facility.

The application was filed by his attorney, Isat Buchanan, in the Supreme Court in downtown Kingston and sought several orders from the court, including that his constitutional rights have been breached.

The Department of Correctional Services (DCS) had placed the artiste in solitary confinement since May 23, and his application says that he is in a 23-hour-a-day lockdown which has adversely affected his health as the “Fever” artiste is battling two autoimmune illnesses and heart problems.

The application is seeking the court’s intervention by way of declarations that the actions of the DCS breached Kartel’s right to due process, as he should have had a hearing before being placed in solitary confinement.

The lawsuit names the minister of national security and the attorney general as respondents. Neither has publicly responded to the recent claims by Kartel’s lawyer nor the new lawsuit.

The lawsuit is asking for a declaratory judgment that the DCS be prohibited from placing Kartel in solitary confinement because of his failing health. The attorney also outlined the fact that Kartel remains a guest of the state, and his case is currently at an appeal stage which would further breach his constitutional rights.

The lawsuit is also asking the court to award damages and costs to the artiste if his application is successful.

A date for the hearing has been set for the week of June 12.

A family member of the artiste had told Urban Islandz weeks ago that Kartel was locked away along with another prisoner after two cell phones were found on his block. A later report in the press had quoted the DCS saying the cell phones were found in Kartel’s cell. However, it’s unclear what the truth of the matter is.

In the meantime, Buchanan had also shared that Kartel’s health has been deteriorating, and he has not been able to see his doctor. His eyes are protruding, his neck is swollen, and the heat, dust, and salty air of the cell have also negatively affected him.

The artiste is presently awaiting the outcome of his Privy Council appeal along with co-defendants Shawn Campbell, Kahira Jones, and Andre St John. They were all sentenced to imprisonment for the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams in 2011.