Could 2018 be the year that both Vybz Kartel
and Buju Banton gets released from prison?
Reggae/dancehall fans have been crying for
their freedom, but will their cries be heard this
year? We know for sure that at least one of the
two Jamaican music icons will be released this
year. Buju Banton release date is set for
November this year after getting a few months
reprieve in his 10-year sentence. On the other
hand, Vybz Kartel appeal trial is set for July of
this year and his legal team is pulling all the
stops for a breakthrough in the controversial
murder case. This will be the last chance that
they have to prove his innocence.
Unlike Vybz Kartel, Buju Banton has already
served his full sentence and has exhausted all
of his legal options after losing several
appeals. The Grammy-winning reggae singer
was convicted on three counts of drug
trafficking charges in Miami in 2011, the same
year that the dancehall superstar was arrested
and slapped with two separate murder
charges. Banton, born Mark Myrie, was
sentenced to ten years in a federal prison for
the crime as he bemoaned his innocence.
Kartel, whose government name is Adidja
Palmer, was acquitted of the murder of
Barrington “Bossie” Burton in 2013 after the
prosecution failed to prove his guilt. The
following year he wasn’t so lucky and was
convicted of the murder of Clive “Lizard”
Williams , a man whom authorities say was a
member of Kartel’s inner circle of friends. One
of his protege, Shawn Storm, was also
convicted of the same murder and both men
and their two co-accused are currently serving
life for the murder. Kartel’s only hope now is a
successful appeal that would set he and his co-
accused free.

Buju Banton has not released any new music
since his incarceration as ordered by the judge
during his sentencing, but Vybz Kartel has
released a ton of new music and has
dominated dancehall since his arrest in 2011.
His success from behind bars even promoted
him to make a bold statement that dancehall is
in jail. “Dancehall is in jail,” he said. “And
although the fact remains that if I die
tomorrow, dancehall will continue, it’s also a
fact that the next artiste to bring the energy,
panache, and ‘vybz’ to dancehall, isn’t here
Legal sources told us that Vybz Kartel appeal
will be a hard-fought battle for the defense
despite the numerous issues with the original
case. “Getting the green light for an appeal
doesn’t mean that they automatically have the
upper hand, they still have a case to prove and
this time it’s not a jury that they will have to
convince, but seasoned judges who know the
law inside-out, so it is a much more difficult
case,” sources said.

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