Incarcerated Jamaican Dancehall star Vybz Kartel got reprieve after his life imprisonment sentence was reduced and now he is confident he will soon be out of prison altogether.
Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Azim Palmer, is serving a life sentence for the 2011 murder of Clive “Lizard” Williams, he has been in prison for close to 10 years now.
The Dancehall icon and his co-accused, Shawn ‘Storm’ Campbell, Andre St John, and Kahira Jones have been fighting to have their conviction overturned since 2014.
In April 2020, Justice Nicole Simmonds ruled via a virtual sitting in favour of the accused’s motion and extended temporary reprieve to the four men.
Jamaica’s Court of Appeal reduced the time that Vybz Kartel and his three co-accused must serve before becoming eligible for parole.
Kartel got a two and a half year sentence reduction after the court found an oversight in the trial judge’s ruling at sentencing.
Court of Appeal directed that the dancehall star must serve at least 32 years and 6 months instead of the 35 years minimum he was sentenced to serve for the murder of his associate.
Kartel has been in custody since September 29th 2011 and he is only eligible for parole in the year 2046. The 45 year old singer will be 70 years old by 2046.
After the getting a reduced sentence, Vybz Kartel through his defense team appealed his murder case in the highest tier of the Jamaican Court System, UK’s Privy Council.
For starters, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is the head of state in Jamaica. The Caribbean island nation was a British colony from the mid-17th century until its independence in 1962, but it still remains part of the Commonwealth to date.
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC) is the court of final appeal for the UK overseas territories and Crown dependencies like Jamaica.
Vybz Kartel has always maintained his innocence and is confident that he will be freed after the UK Privy Council decides on his final appeal.
In a new prison interview with Fox5 News reporter Lisa Evers which first aired on August 18th 2021, Kartel said the Jamaican system was out to get him.
The incarcerated music icon declared confidently that his freedom is certain, and claimed that his imprisonment was an attempt to get rid of the influential King of Dancehall, not the man Adidjah Palmer.
“Yes of course I believe that, and to be totally honest, the system really wanted me thrown away, it was never about me being charged for a murder, it was about getting rid of Vybz Kartel, not Adidjah Palmer, the person,” said Vybz Kartel.
Comparing his cell conditions to that of a dungeon, Kartel revealed his prison cell is dark, hot and furnished with four bunk beds and a toilet. Despite all of this, the singer revealed that he is in a better place mentally than physically.
“Yeah because I was sick for a few years, so definitely I’m recovering physically, but mentally I’ve always been in a good place because I know I’m innocent and I know I’m coming out,” Kartel said.
Vybz Kartel has been incarcerated at St. Catherine Adult Correctional Facility in Spanish Town, Middlesex, Jamaica.
The Dancehall star has been in prison for almost ten years, but that has not stopped the Gaza Boss from releasing new music and interacting with his fans.
Kartel boasted that since he was sent to penitentiary he has written thousands of songs. In the last two years, he has released three full-length albums.
“Lots of songs, I can’t even count, at one point I was sending out like 3, 4 books a month because when I write the songs, I usually send the books out when I get visits, thousands of songs really, and I know not all of them are going to be able to get released maybe in the span of my career, but I just keep, you know, writing and writing… makes me better,” said Vybz Kartel.