American at heart of Serial podcast freed after 23 years in prison

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American at Heart of Serial Podcast Released After 23 Years in Prison

Adnan Syed leaving court in Baltimore, Maryland

A U.S. judge on Monday overturned the conviction of Mr. a man held for 23 years for a murder he has always denied committing, a case at the heart of the worldwide hit Serial podcast.

Adnan Syed, 42, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2000 for the murder of his former girlfriend Hae Min Lee in Baltimore, on the east coast of the United States.

In an unexpected twist, City Attorney Marilyn Mosby filed a motion last week to have the verdict overturned, saying she had doubts about Adnan Syed's guilt and asked for his release.< /p>

Ms. Mosby explained that she had discovered the existence of two alternative suspects, crucial information that was poorly exploited at the time and which, above all, had not been communicated to the defense before the trial.


On Monday, a magistrate therefore approved the prosecutor's request during a hearing in a crowded room in a Baltimore court. In the interests of justice and fairness, the motion is granted: the defendant will be released and fitted with an electronic bracelet, Judge Melissa Phinn said.


Officers then removed Adnan Syed's shackles while part of the room applauded before being called to order. Full beard and head covered with a cap, he showed no reaction.

He finds it hard to believe that it is good true and now wants to spend time with his family, said his lawyer Erica Suter outside the courthouse, while his client rushed into a car without making a statement.

Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby insisted that the justice had not yet declared Adnan Syed innocent and that she would await the results of additional DNA analyzes before deciding whether to drop the charges against him or arrange for a new trial.

She has 30 days to do so. Whatever her decision, she promised to continue the investigation to ensure that Hae Min Lee's family knows for sure the name of the culprit.

During the; hearing, the young woman's brother, Young Lee, took the floor by telephone to explain his dismay. Saying he was living a nightmare that never ends, he said he felt cheated by prosecutors who argued for years to hold the right culprit before finally changing his mind.

The case began in February 1999 when police found the body of 18-year-old Hae Min Lee half-buried in a Baltimore woods. Arrested at the age of 17, Adnan Syed was sentenced to life in prison a year later. couldn't stand her leaving him for someone else and strangled her. He has always proclaimed his innocence, convinced of being the victim of anti-Muslim prejudice.

In 2014, a team of journalists conducted a counter-investigation, told in twelve episodes in the first season of Serial. A precursor to the era of podcasts, this radio drama has, according to its producers, been downloaded more than 300 million times. It also inspired an HBO documentary.

The investigation by Serial journalists showed that the lawyer for ;Adnan Syed had overlooked a mobile phone expertise favorable to the accused as well as the testimony of a young girl who offered him a potential alibi.

Their work resulted in a reopening of the case, and in March 2018, a Maryland appeals court ordered a new trial, finding that the lawyer had provided ineffective assistance to his client.

In March 2019, the Supreme Court of Maryland acknowledged that the lawyer had been wrong in not presenting certain elements, but considered that given the totality of the evidence, the verdict would not have been reached. been different if she had included them. She had therefore refused the organization of a new trial.

The defense of Adnan Syed had then turned to the Supreme Court of the States -United. In 2019, she refused to intervene, which seemed to put an end to her hopes of release.

However, the Baltimore prosecutor, who has x27;a service specializing in the correction of miscarriages of justice, reopened the file once again, finally causing this latest judicial reversal.

A new episode of Serial will air Tuesday morning, the producers of the podcast announced on their Twitter account on Monday.

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