EA court of appeals in the USA has reinstated the overturned murder conviction against Adnan Syed, known from the podcast “Serial”. The Maryland Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that the rights of the murder victim’s brother had been violated when the murder conviction was overturned last September.
At the time, Young Lee, who lives in California on the US west coast, was not given sufficient time to attend the hearing before a court in the city of Baltimore in the east of the USA. The appeals court therefore overturned the quashing of the murder conviction – and reinstated Syed’s guilty verdict and sentence. A new hearing in the case must now be scheduled.
Syed has always maintained his innocence
Syed was released in September 2022 after more than 20 years in prison. It was a spectacular turn in a high profile case brought to the attention of audiences around the world through the podcast Serial.
Syed was sentenced to life in prison in 2000 for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. Lee’s body was found in a forest in February 1999, the 18-year-old had been strangled. In the murder trial, the prosecution portrayed Syed as a “spurned lover” who killed his ex-girlfriend after she broke up with him.
Syed has always maintained his innocence, but failed with a number of appeals. The man with Pakistani roots described himself as a victim of anti-Muslim prejudice.
“Serial” journalists found exculpatory material
The journalist Sarah Koenig later worked on the case with colleagues. The research was published in the first season of the 2014 podcast “Serial”. The mixture of investigative journalism and dramatic presentation made “Serial” immensely popular far beyond the USA.
Among other things, the “Serial” researchers found that Syed’s lawyer had left unused important material that could potentially exonerate his client. The case was also dealt with in a documentary by the US pay channel HBO from 2019.
In a surprising move last September, Baltimore’s top attorney general announced that she had requested that Syed’s conviction be overturned. The reason she gave was “new information” about two other possible suspects. In addition, there are doubts about the accuracy of cell phone queries, which were intended to prove Syed’s whereabouts on the day of the murder.
The public prosecutor’s office admitted to having “lost confidence in the correctness of the verdict”. The responsible judge finally ruled that an annulment of the judgment was “in the interests of justice and fairness”. Now the legal disputes are entering a new round.
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