Attorney says Vybz Kartel has serious disease

June 01, 2023
Vybz Kartel
Vybz Kartel

Attorney for dancehall entertainer Vybz Kartel, Isat Buchanan, has confirmed that his client is suffering from Graves' disease, which is an autoimmune disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones, or hyperthyroidism.

Buchanan also accused officials at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre of breaching his client's rights and the Corrections Act, by having the deejay kept in solitary confinement at the facility, most popularly known as 'GP', since last week.

Hyperthyroidism can affect the heart, muscles and nervous system. Buchanan said that his client is stressed due to his illness, and that the autoimmune disorder has changed his client's physical appearance.

"He has been in solitary for about 11 days now after he was placed there since Labour Day. He is locked up and locked away for 23 hours a day and I can confirm that since lockdown, he has picked up an infection from the lockdown and he is being treated for that now," he said.

"Since the 23-hour lockdown, it is apparent that his health is deteriorating. I can speak to the fact that his neck is swollen more than usual and that his eyes are protruding a little bit more than usual, and it is clear that he is under stress when breathing," Buchanan added.

Last Thursday, the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) said it had launched an investigation after two cell phones were seized from Vybz Kartel a day apart at the facility. While denying that the deejay was on lockdown, the DCS said that his movement had been restricted pending the investigation. Buchanan said that he has only heard about cell phones in the media, and that prison authorities have not provided him with an official reason why his client has been placed in solitary confinement despite him making a formal enquiry.

Buchanan cited rule number 19 of the Corrections Act "which says that he [the correctional facility's superintendent] takes directions from a medical officer, which means that if he wants to give out that kind of punishment he needs permission from the medical team".

"No inmate in Jamaica can say 'Warden open the gate, I am going to Digicel and I am going to Flow and I am going to get cell phones and numbers' ... they don't have freedom of movement. So the punishments should never be for the inmates," Buchanan reasoned.

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