Who is Adnan Syed, the subject of the ‘Serial’ podcast who was released from prison?
Syed’s conviction was finally quashed by a Baltimore court years after a podcast revealed a number of problems in the original conviction.
A Baltimore judge has quashed the murder conviction of Adnan Syed, the first focus of a crime podcast which cast light upon his case.
Syed was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his ex-girlfiend Hae Min Lee 23 years ago in 1999. He was 18 at the time.
Baltimore Circuit Judge Melissa Phinn said she was ending his conviction “in the interest of fairness and justice,” though he will remain under house detention until the new trial which does not currently have a date. Prosecutors have 30 days whether to try him again or drop the case.
The case was brought to attention with its feature in the podcast series Serial. Episodes of the show have been downloaded more than 340 million times and Syed’s case was the focus of the first series.
Why was the conviction overturned?
It transpired that the state had withheld information that would have helped the defence in the original trial. There were two other suspects at the time of Syed’s arrest, though this information was not made available to the defence. One of these suspects is now a convicted serial rapist while the other had threatened Lee prior to her killing.
Furthermore, prosecutors brought the information on Syed’s location at the time of the murder, from phone GPS, into question. A note on the records said that information for incoming calls “would not be considered reliable information for location” because the signal would be sent to different towers to find a location. The technology used by AT&T at the time meant this evidence was shaky at best and useless at worst.
Every appeal against Syed’s conviction was denied, including as recently as 2019.
Where can the podcast be listened?
The Serial podcast has its own website which you can use to listen to it.