R Kelly has been placed on suicide watch at the federal detention facility in Brookly where he is being held following his sentencing to 30 years in prison on racketeering and sex trafficking charges.
However, his attorney believes the disgraced R&B singer is not suicidal and was fearful of being put on suicide watch.
“The irony of putting someone on suicide watch when they’re not suicidal is it actually causes more harm,” Jennifer Bonjean told CNN, adding that prosecutors who had spoken with officials at Brooklyn’s Metropolitan Detention Centre had told her the move had been made because Kelly is well known.
“Mr Kelly was placed on suicide watch for purely punitive reasons in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights,” she told Fox News Digital. “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.”
Ms Bonjean added that she had spoken with Kelly following the sentencing and he had said he was mentally fine and 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,” his lawyers said.
“MDC Brooklyn’s confinement of Mr Kelly to suicide watch is illegal, and they will be held accountable for it.”
The singer was convicted in 2021. Prosecutors initially sought a 25-year sentence. Kelly’s defence argued that he should be subjected to no more than 10 years in prison, arguing that anything longer was “tantamount to a death sentence” for the 55-year-old.
US district judge Ann Donnelly handed down the sentence after seven of the disgraced singer’s victims gave impact statements recalling their abuse at his hands.
“You made me do things that broke my spirit. I literally wished I would die because of how low you made me feel,” one of the victims told him.