Marley stands by Buju

Stephen Marley, the son of reggae icon Bob Marley, is offering to
post his south Florida home to secure the release of Jamaican musician Buju
Banton.

A jury deadlocked last month in
Banton’s federal drug trial; he’s expected to have a retrial in December. If
convicted, he could face up to life in prison.

The four-time Grammy nominee has
been held without bail since his arrest in December. A federal judge has said
he would allow Banton to be released pending his next trial under a combination
of conditions that amount to house arrest.

Stephen Marley, a six-time Grammy
winner who beat Banton to win the best reggae album award this year, testified
during Banton’s trial that the two have known each other for 19 years and that
he has never known Banton to be involved with cocaine.

“He’s a close friend of
mine,” Marley said. “I love him.”

Marley said Banton is important to
Jamaica. Referring to Banton’s album “Voice of Jamaica,” Marley said,
“That really sums up who Buju is to us.”

Banton’s attorney, David Oscar
Markus has notified the court that Marley is willing to post his Miami-Dade
property, valued at $350,000, to secure Banton’s release.

U.S. Magistrate Anthony Porcelli
also required that Banton pay for a private security detail to be with him at
all times. Porcelli told the defence to make the arrangements, and said he
would schedule a hearing if the prosecution objects.

Markus notified the court that
Assistant U.S. Attorney James Preston opposes use of the security companies
contacted on behalf of the singer because they do not employ off-duty law
enforcement officers, an arrangement Markus says would be too costly.

Initially, a friend in St.
Petersburg offered to put up his home to secure Banton’s release. However, an
appraisal determined the home did not have the $250,000 in equity required by
the judge, Markus said in his court filing.

So Marley has offered to substitute
his property.

If and when Banton is released, his
attorneys will then have to ask an immigration judge to issue a similar order,
as immigration authorities have placed a hold on the singer.

Porcelli said he will also order
Banton to sign a waiver of extradition to allow authorities to get him back in
the event he flees the country. He also must undergo random drug testing and
surrender his passport