Tag Archives: Free Buju!

Banton Defense Team Launches Letter Writing Campaign To Supreme Court

The Supreme Court

The legal team for GRAMMY Award-winning reggae star, Buju Banton, has  launched a new letter writing campaign — this time aimed at the Supreme Court — to build further awareness about the highly controversial federal drug case that landed the beloved Jamaican music icon behind bars.

The letter writing campaign comes on the heels of the Free Buju Press Conference that was held early last week on Capitol Hill. Banton’s new defense attorney, Chokwe Lumumba, organized the Washington D.C. event in conjunction with the Buju Banton Defense Support Committee to formally announce the filing of a petition for a Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court.

Dr. Carolyn Cooper Speaks @ Free Buju Press Event in D.C.

The panel of special guest speakers included GRAMMY Award-winning reggae artist and producer, Stephen Marley; Dr. Carolyn Cooper, author and lecturer at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica; Brother Aula Sumbry, radio host and Chairman of the NAACP Prison Committee in Trenton, New Jersey; attorney and progressive policy advocate, Nkechi Taifa; longtime Banton friend and collaborator, Gramps Morgan; Salim Adafo, Vice-Chairman of the National Black United Front; and Banton co-counsel, Imhotep Alkebu-Lan.

Legal Eagle Chokwe Lumumba

Lumumba also addressed the attendees. “I think he is a political prisoner,” said the veteran legal eagle. “There is a generational gap between the struggle to free political prisoners and the struggles of young people. [Buju is helping] to keep the act of freeing political prisoners a relevant one to all generations that exist right now.”

Banton is currently housed at the Pinellas County Jail in Clearwater, Florida, where he awaits a decision from trial judge James S. Moody, Jr. who is deliberating on two motions recently filed by his lawyers: 1) Motion for reconsideration of sentence  2) Second motion for new trial (due to possible juror misconduct).

Mr. Lumumba, the Buju Banton Defense Support Committee and the Gargamel Music Family are asking all friends, fans and activists around the world to stand in solidarity with the ongoing movement to Free Buju by writing a letter to the Supreme Court today. All letters should be sent to Lumumba’s office:
 
United States Supreme Court
C/O Attorney Chokwe Lumumba
440 N. Mill St.
Jackson, Mississippi 39202
 
Hon. Supreme Court Justices:
 
I am writing this letter in support of Mark Anthony Myrie (Buju Banton).
 
Mr. Myrie has filed a petition in this court seeking review and reversal of drug, conspiracy, weapons possession and phone facilitation convictions occurring in the U.S.District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division.
 
The convictions of Mr. Myrie are outrageous and unjust. Mr. Myrie was the victim of a concerted U.S. government effort to entrap, conducted by a corrupt informant who was paid 3.5 million dollars by the government for his services in various cases over the years.
 
Mark Myrie is a Grammy Award winning reggae artiste from Jamaica. He has never been convicted of a crime prior to the present case. He has helped feed numerous hungry children in his country and otherwise contributed to worthy causes in Jamaica and elsewhere. He is supported by hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions worldwide.
 
I ask this honorable court to review his case and grant Mark Myrie the relief he deserves.
 ——————————————–
 
::SIGN::
::WATCH::
::BUY::

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Buju Banton Gives Thanks For All The Birthday Wishes

Jamaican music icon Buju Banton gives thanks to everyone who sent cards wishing him a happy birthday. The GRAMMY-winning Reggae artist turned 39 years old on Sunday, July 15th. In addition to the hundreds of cards and letters he received from friends, family and fans, selectors paid tribute by playing blocks of Buju’s music on radio stations across the globe.

“To all who remembered me on this day, those who took the time to send me a card and those who played my music, especially all the radio DJs and personalities who keep the fire burning,” says Buju, “I thank you for sending strength through these times… Jah live.”

Buju also sends a special shout out to all the folks who participated in the Free Buju Birthday Sweepstakes and Trivia Contest held last week by the good folks at Zion Rootswear. The winners will receive an official Buju Banton gift pack featuring an official Free Buju T-Shirt and button, a Buju Banton album, 8×10 photo, poster and stickers, all courtesy of Zion and Gargamel Music.

Official Buju Banton merchandise is available at ZionRootswear.com. For those of you outside the United States, international orders are now being processed directly through customer service: cs@zionrootswear.com.

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Never Give Up The Fight… Attorneys For Banton File Motion For New Trial

By now you’ve all heard how the United States Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit basically disregarded the Appeal filed on behalf of Grammy-winning Reggae music icon, Buju Banton, and upheld his controversial conviction for “conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute” and “using the wires to facilitate a drug trafficking offense.”

Adding insult to injury, the overwhelmingly conservative three judge panel led by Chief Justice Joel Fredrick Dubina (a George H. W. Bush appointee), alongside  Circuit Judge Susan Harrell Black (another George H. W. Bush appointee) and Circuit Judge Stanley Marcus (a default Bill Clinton appointee), also reversed trial judge James Moody Jr.‘s common sense decision to throw out a third conviction at Buju’s sentencing hearing last summer: “knowing and intentionally possessing a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking offense,” which carries an additional 5 year penalty.

It clearly didn’t matter much to Dubina, Black or Marcus that Buju had no priors and has never been involved in the drug trade. Nor did it matter that he did not participate in any negotiations nor was he present at the deal that actually did go down between well-paid government snitch Alexander Johnson and former co-defendants James Mack and Ian Thomas.

As defense attorney David Oscar Markus recently pointed out “a good man is in jail for talking a big game.” He’s also paying the price for simply fighting the powers that be. You may recall that after the first trial eneded in a mistrial, prosecutor James Preston Jr., venemously amended the original indictment, tweaking the gun charge and adding two additional charges, in his attempt to make something stick… And it worked. All this for a man who has spent the last 20 years of his life making incredibly uplifting music for his legion of loyal fans around the world. War on drugs? We think not… This is a war on Buju Banton.

Bouncing back from the latest blow to their client, late yesterday afternoon, the legal team for Banton filed a Renewed Motion For A New Trial with the district Court in Tampa. The 27-page motion duly requests a new trial on all counts, or alternately, a new trial on the gun count only. To be clear, if no new trial is granted by Judge Moody, Buju will automatically be sentenced to an additional 5 years on top to the 10 he is currently serving. Team Banton has nothing to lose and everything to gain by filing this latest motion and we pray that the request is granted.

In the meantime, fans can take solace in knowing that Buju is indeed holding firm despite the loss of the appeal and the harrowing prospect of doing even more time. He is reading avidly, has some access to a guitar (there are 2 or 3 in the facility) and is writing new songs, plus he is even teaching a class at FCI Miami, where he is presently being housed. We encourage you to keep him in your prayers, continue writing those letters of encouragement, and, if you should feel so inclined, drop a little something on his commissary.

MARK ANTHONY MYRIE – 86700-004

FCI MIAMI

FEDERAL CORRECTIONAL INSTITUTION

P.O. BOX 779800

MIAMI, FL 33177

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Gargamel Focused On Freedom In 2012

We Pray For Freedom In 2012

Greetings in the name of the Most High! As we mark the end of 2011, Buju Banton and the entire Gargamel family would like to take a moment to thank the fans around the world for your unwavering support during these difficult times. Indeed, it is not an easy road, but it helps to know that we are not walking it alone.

Buju has been receiving all of  your correspondence and apologizes for not being able to answer every single letter personally. Keep them coming, still, as they are a true source of upliftment in the midst of so much uncertainty.

While we patiently await a final ruling on Buju’s case from the United States Court of Appeals, Team Gargamel remains hopeful, prayerful and focused on freedom… We encourage you to do the same.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Buju Moving… To Low Security Federal Facility In Miami

Buju Moving...

The family and close friends of Buju Banton can breathe a collective sigh of relief. After spending two months living under horrible conditions at Limestone County Correctional Institution, a private prison in Groesbeck, Texas, the Jamaican music icon is now on the move and expected to be transferred to Federal Correctional Institution Miami, the low security  facility originally recommended by the Honorable Judge James Moody, who oversaw his criminal case.

The Gargamel Music family expresses great thanks to the Jamaican consulate, who immediately sent a representative to report first hand on the conditions in Texas, and to Judge Moody, who wrote a letter to the Bureau Of Prisons (BOP) on Buju’s behalf. We are especially thankful for Buju’s attorney, David Oscar Markus of Markus & Markus Law, who worked diligently with the prison in Texas, the Jamaican consulate, the BOP and the Court to make this unprecedented move happen.

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The Caged Bird Sings Of Freedom

The caged bird sings

With a fearful trill

Of things unknown

But longed for still

And his tune is heard

On the distant hill

For the caged bird

Sings of freedom.

Dr. Maya Angelou (from I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings)

Freedom! Photo By: Robert Cooper

Greetings in the name of the Most High…

As you can imagine, the Gargamel Music Family’s entire world was shattered by the outcome of Buju’s trial. Two months have passed and the heartache has not eased at all. We lost a long, hard-fought battle but, alas, this legal war wages on. We remain confident in Buju’s innocence and vigilant in our fight for his ultimate freedom. There is nuff work to be done and the time has come for us to pick up the pieces and march forward in the struggle.

Buju’s strength and resolve throughout this painful ordeal has been nothing short of inspiring. He is a true soldier who continues to stand firm in his beliefs and will not be broken. He earnestly thanks his friends for life — the fans worldwide — for your unyielding support and only asks that you remember him in a positive light and continue to play his music in the days to come.

We encourage you to send uplifting letters to Buju at the address below:

Mark Anthony Myrie – Docket # 1443397

CEN-4C1-UN01-01-001

Pinellas County Jail

14400 49th Street North

Clearwater, Florida 33762-2877

If you feel like you want to top up B’s commissary, include a money order with all of the above information written on it (Mark’s legal name/docket number, etc…) and place it in the envelope with your letter. The guards who open the mail will make sure it’s added onto his account.

SENTENCING & APPEAL

We recently sat down with Buju’s attorney, David Oscar Markus, who took the time to school us on how the sentencing and appeal processes works so we have a better sense of what to expect.

The trial and sentencing judge, James Moody, Jr. still has yet to rule on either of the post trial motions filed by Markus back in February: 1) motion for judgement of acquittal  2) motion for a new trial. Markus filed a separate third motion for bond pending sentencing and appeal that he is also waiting to hear from the Court on.

Buju’s sentencing is currently scheduled for June 23rd. While Judge Moody can take other things into account, he still must abide by the current mandatory minimum drug sentencing guidelines, which based on the three convictions: 1) Conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 5 or more kilograms of a substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine  2) knowing and intentionally possessing a firearm in the furtherance of a drug trafficking offense and 3) using the wires to facilitate a drug trafficking offense, bring the mandatory minimum in this case to 15 years.

  • After sentencing, Markus has 14 days to file a notice of appeal. Then he will order the trial transcripts, which will take about 30 days.
  • As soon as Markus gets the transcripts, he has 40 days to file a brief, which will contain his arguments.
  • The government gets 40 days to respond. Markus gets 40 days to reply.
  • Then the Court will decide whether to allow oral argument (where 3 judges listen to the case). Only 10% of all appeal cases are granted this opportunity.
  • After oral argument, the Court usually takes between a month and a year to rule.

Those who wish to donate funds toward the appeal may send a wire transfer to the official Buju Banton Defense Fund set up by his attorney:

Markus & Markus, PLLC
(Defense Fund for Buju Banton)
Citibank, N A
Coral Way Branch
1600 Coral Way
Miami, FL 33145
ABA # 266086554
Account # 9118130472

You may also make a donation via Paypal. Just log in and direct monies to FREEBUJU@gmail.com

THE VOICE OF JAMAICA WILL NOT BE SILENCED!
The Gargamel Music Family remains steadfast in our efforts to promote and preserve the musical legacy of Buju Banton. As he reiterated in his Miami New Times cover story in January of this year, “they can lock the flesh but they can never lock the spirit of Rasta.” We intend to keep Buju’s spirit moving and his voice soaring — through music… And we already have several projects in development:

Buju Banton & Friends: Before The Dawn Concert DVD

We are working out the logistics to make the official DVD of the Before The Dawn Concert available for sale later this year. We are aware of the weak bootleg circulating on the streets and will deal with the culprits accordingly. In the meantime, we just ask that the fans hold on and support the real product when it comes out. It will definitely be worth the wait.

New Buju Banton Studio Album

While the General was out on bail and under house arrest he finished up some tracks for an album co-produced with longtime UK brethren, Blacker Dread. The pair previously worked together on the rousing 2010 anthem “Innocent” featured on Buju’s Grammy-winning album Before The Dawn (Gargamel Music). This new album will drop some time in 2012 on Gargamel Music, Inc.

Buju Banton Live Album

Team Gargamel has collected some amazing live material over the past few years and we plan to release the first Buju Banton live album some time in the near future.

Buju Banton Coffee Table Book

For the past few years we’ve been shooting with esteemed celebrity photographer Jonathan Mannion (Too Bad and Rasta Got Soul album covers) to produce a photography book that visually captures the excitement and frenetic energy of Buju’s live performances along with some exclusive behind-the-scenes moments on the road with the artist and his band.

Gargamel Music Website

At long last, we are in the process of revamping the Gargamel Music website. www.GARGAMELMUSIC.com will be the hub for all things Buju Banton on the web. We will also be selling authentic Buju Banton merchandise, including the Official Free Buju T-Shirts, which are now available in a Limited Edition Red in addition to the original Black and Green color waves. And keep your eyes peeled for the brand new Buju Banton Logo Tee that will be available at relaunch!

The Gargamel Music Family Thanks You For Your Support!

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Buju Banton’s Before The Dawn Concert Live Webcast To Reach Fans Across The Globe

Fans around the globe who are unable to make the trek to Miami for the historic Before The Dawn Concert featuring Buju Banton & Friends will have the unique opportunity to watch the event online. Gargamel Music and Rockers Island have partnered with New York-based Webcast provider CMX Events to produce a High Definition (HD) Before The Dawn Concert Webcast. The pay per view program will stream live on the Internet from 5pm – 10pm EST on Sunday, January 16th and will be available for a period of 24 hours after the show.

Those fans who are making the trek to Miami but haven’t yet bought their tickets can still go online to BUJULIVE.com or head to the Bayfront Park Amphitheater box office on Sunday where tickets will be sold from 12 Noon. The Before The Dawn Concert features a blockbuster lineup of artists, including Stephen Marley, Shaggy, Gramps Morgan, Wayne Wonder, Freddie McGregorTarrus Riley, Dean Fraser, Nadine Sutherland, Everton Blender and several surprise guests! Gates open at 4pm. Show begins at 5pm sharp.

A limited amount of Official Free Buju T-Shirts will be available for sale at the park for a discounted price of $25. Get there early to get yours!

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