Serial podcast: Adnan Sayed released from prison after US judge overturns his death sentence

A US judge on Monday overturned the conviction of a man who spent more than 20 years in prison for the murder of his ex-girlfriend – a case that has gained global attention thanks to the hit podcast “Serial”.
Judge Melissa Finn overturned a conviction 42, who is serving a life sentence since 2000 for the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee, was ordered to be released based on his confession pending a possible new trial.

Prosecutors had called for the conviction to be overturned after discovering “newly developed information regarding alternative suspects”.

Mr. Syed has steadfastly maintained his innocence, but his multiple appeals have been rejected, including by the US Supreme Court, which in 2019 refused to hear his case.
In a surprising move on Wednesday, Baltimore City’s state attorney, Marilyn Mosby, announced that she had asked a judge to overturn Syed’s conviction.

She said the move was motivated by the discovery of “newly developed undisclosed information regarding two alternate suspects, as well as unreliable cell phone tower data.”

Officials accompany podcast “Serial” subject Adnan Sayed from the courtroom on February 3, 2016, after completing the first day of retrial hearings in Baltimore, Maryland. source: AAP / (Photo by Carl Merton Veron/Baltimore Sun/TNS/Sipa USA).

“Syed deserves a new trial where he is adequately represented and the latest evidence can be presented,” she added.

The Baltimore City District Attorney’s office said they “cannot confirm, at this time, that Mr. Syed is innocent” but “lacked confidence in the fairness of the conviction.”

Syed’s case attracted attention when it was covered by “Serial,” a weekly podcast that saw an American journalist reconsider and question his conviction.

HBO's New York Premiere "The case against Adnan Sayed" IN PURE NON FICTION

A view of the poster at the New York premiere of HBO’s “The Case Against Adnan Syed” at Pure Non-Fiction on February 26, 2019 in New York City. source: GT / (Photo by Slavin Vlasic/Getty Images for HBO)

His case was also the subject of a four-part HBO documentary, The Case Against Adnan Sayed.

The “serial” podcast – a blend of investigative journalism, first-person narrative, and dramatic storytelling – its first season focused on Syed’s story in 12 poignant episodes.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Lee were high school honors students and children of immigrant families – a Pakistani, a South Korean – who hid their relationship from their conservative parents.

Prosecutors said during the trial that Mr. Syed was a “despised lover” who was offended after Ms Lee broke up with him.
Ms Mosby’s office said a re-investigation of the case “revealed evidence regarding the possible involvement of two alternative suspects” who “were not properly excluded or disclosed to the defence”.

It added that the accuracy of the mobile phone data records that were used to determine Mr Syed’s whereabouts on the day of the killings was also called into question.

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