Disgraced American singer, R. Kelly has been placed on suicide watch at the federal detention facility in Brooklyn following his sentencing to 30 years in prison on racketeering and sex trafficking charges.
However, his lawyers said the 55-year-old R&B singer will be suing the federal prison where he is being held because there is no reason for Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Center to put him on suicide watch.
They added that doing so is causing real and lasting harm to Kelly. Court documents allege that both before and after the sentencing, the singer was mentally stable and showed no signs of behaviour that would justify placing him on suicide watch.
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To ensure he wouldn’t be sent to suicide watch, Kelly’s lawyers told him to email them as soon as he returned to the cell after his sentencing.
When they didn’t receive an email, the lawyers said, they repeatedly tried contacting the prison but were not able to get an update on the singer’s location until two days later, when a prosecutor confirmed he had been placed on suicide watch.
The prosecutor allegedly told Kelly’s legal team that MDC’s legal team said he had been moved “for various reasons, such as age, crime, publicity, and sentencing.”
Jennifer Bonjean, one of his lawyers told CNN that
“The irony of putting someone on suicide watch when they’re not suicidal is it actually causes more harm.
“Mr Kelly was placed on suicide watch for purely punitive reasons in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights
“MDC has a policy of placing high profile individuals under the harsh conditions of suicide watch whether they are suicidal or not. MDC Brooklyn is being run like a gulag.”
Bonjean added that she had spoken with Kelly following the sentencing and he shared that he was mentally fine, but concerned that authorities would put him on suicide watch as they had after the guilty verdict.
“We are in the process of filing an emergency rule to show cause with the courts.
“MDC Brooklyn’s confinement of Mr Kelly to suicide watch is illegal, and they will be held accountable for it.”
Earlier this week, Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison for racketeering and sex crimes. Read here
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