OBAMA HOLDS KEYS TO BUJU'S FREEDOM
With United States President Barack Obama due to leave office on January 20, 2017, a new petitioner believes that the time is right for him to grant pardon to Grammy award-winner Buju Banton, who is serving 10 years in US prison for drug-related offences.
Obama landed in Cuba on Sunday, becoming the first US president in nearly a century to visit the communist country.
American Jean-Frank Dorvil believes the fact that Obama is leaving office presents some opportunity for Buju to taste freedom.
"We are leaning on the strength of the president leaving office, and at this point of a president's career, they care about people
seeing them positively going out. The social media presence is also a factor if we can get the timing right," Dorvil told The STAR.
"It's been proven in the past that presidents, when they are leaving office, they pardon people for crimes they have committed. Not an acquittal, but forgiveness."
Buju was sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment in 2011 which he is currently serving at the McRae Correctional Institution in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton had conversations about drugs with a government informant, he met on a plane which triggered a series of meetings and phone calls about buying and selling cocaine, according to testimonies from the informant, Alexander Johnson.
Johnson testified that they began talking about drugs early in the flight from Spain to Miami, Florida and "he [Buju] told me he was involved in the transportation of drugs from Venezuela to St Martin".
But Buju Banton maintained in court that he was just talking to impress Johnson and that he has never been involved in drug dealings.
Since his conviction in 2011, several petitions have been started hoping to get the US authorities to admit that the justice system swallowed up an innocent man. However, none of those petitions has been met with any success, but Dorvil appears convinced that Obama coming to the end of his presidency holds would be
minded to grant a pardon to Buju.
He also told The STAR that the fact that Banton has served seven years for a victimless crime where nobody was hurt is also a plus in him being fit for release.
According to Dorvil, the court got it wrong and nobody can say Banton was a known drug lord or he was a gang leader prior to his arrest.
"Buju has not been proven a drug lord. They entrapped him by setting up a situation, and after numerous times of not going with it, they misrepresented a meeting he had with that person," said Dorvil, CEO and Co-founder of dorvilmediagroup in the USA.
"We sat down and looked at documents of individuals who were wrongfully imprisoned, and Buju's case was one of misconduct and horribly ran. We followed YouTube and watched different videos of the trail and publications like The Gleaner. One of the jurors actually, looked up information while deliberating, and that is not to be done. The judge found the juror in contempt, and instead of throwing the case out, they still prosecuted him," He said.
Dorvil says he is aiming to acquire 100 signatures and then 1,000 following which it will be brought to Obaxma's attention for review.
"We are trying to get as much artistes to sign, as well as international artistes who have been supportive of Buju Banton," he said.