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Engaged and creating music: Jamaican dancehall star Vybez Kartel’s life in prison

The conviction of Jamaican dancehall star Vybz Kartel for the murder of his associate over a decade ago was overturned by a London court.

The ruling cited attempts to bribe the trial jury, deeming the conviction unsafe.

Vybz Kartel, born Adidja Palmer, stands as one of Jamaica’s most iconic musical figures, having collaborated with industry giants such as Jay-Z and Rihanna.

However, his career trajectory took a tumultuous turn when he was imprisoned in Jamaica in 2011 in connection with the disappearance of his associate, Clive “Lizard” Williams, whose body remains undiscovered.

Following a grueling 65-day trial, Kartel, alongside three co-defendants, faced conviction in 2014.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 35 years, later reduced to 32 and a half years on appeal.

Despite his incarceration, Kartel’s personal life has seen its share of developments.

In 2022, he became engaged to Sidem Öztürk, a Turkish social worker, during an authorized prison visit. Öztürk spoke fondly of Kartel, describing him as intelligent and possessing an “amazing heart.”

Regarding their engagement, Öztürk recounted, “He’s (Kartel) smart, I love his heart, he’s got an amazing heart and it’s so giving, it’s so loving, I like to call him my angel.”

However, Kartel’s legal battles persist, with Öztürk expressing hope for his release through ongoing appeals.

The artist’s health concerns also surfaced, in December 2023 with reports of worsening Graves’ Disease and heart conditions prompting medical attention.

Despite his confinement, Vybz Kartel’s creative output remains prolific.

Throughout 2020 and beyond, he released multiple albums and tracks, showcasing an unparalleled work ethic.

Addressing speculation about recording music in prison, Kartel maintained that his releases were based on pre-arrest material updated by trusted producers.

In an interview conducted through his lawyer in 2016, Kartel asserted:

“Many people say YES! VYBZ IS RECORDING IN PRISON!! But where’s the proof? But this is Jamaica where you don’t need proof to imprison someone. For the record, I’m not authorized to answer such ‘above pay grade’ questions so I’ll say, a tree fell in the forest and no one was there to hear it.'”

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