While Dancehall and reggae artist Vybz Kartel continues to pursue freedom in court, he’s reportedly facing inhumane prison conditions that are putting his life at risk. New York’s Fox 5 has shared that the 47-year-old Kingston native is battling Graves’ Disease and two alleged heart conditions that can be fatal if he doesn’t receive surgery soon. In 2014, Kartel, born Adidja Azim Palmer, was sentenced to life for the murder of his associate Clive “Lizard” Williams.
“Mr. Palmer’s illness is actually life-threatening,” Palmer’s human rights attorney, Isat Buchanan, told Fox 5. The artist is also on a 23-hour lockdown for a cell phone violation. Under the severe conditions, Palmer is said to be in a brick cell with little air circulation, no water, and a bucket used as a toilet — all of which are worsening his health.
Buchanan says he visited his client on Monday (May 29).
“His neck was swollen, if you think of a shirt that is about 18.5 inches in the neck area, you couldn’t close the collar on his neck and that’s how bad it is in this moment,” Buchanan said. “His face is actually swollen. And one other thing. He always wears glasses; in this condition, that causes his eyes to protrude.”
Palmer was previously located at Horizon Adult Remand Centre before being transferred to the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre last September. At the time, Buchanan called the move a “serious problem,” claiming that Horizon is the “only institution that is medically equipped” to aid Palmer’s health.
A medical report obtained by Fox 5 also details Palmer’s seven-year history with Graves’ Disease, which has not gone into remission despite medication. The artist’s private physician, Dr. Karen Phillips, also suggested that he receive surgery.
“Fighting for his life, yes, because it can be dangerous,” Buchanan said. “We do not want to get a phone call to say that because he was under this 23-hour lockdown, and unable to breathe, that he succumbed to his illness.”
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