Who is Adnan Syed and is he still in prison?

Syed still insists he has nothing to do with Hae Min Lee's murder, 20 years after she was found dead. Read on for more details…

Who is Adnan Syed?

Adnan Syed was jailed for the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999, and was given a life sentence plus 30 years.

The Muslim of Pakistani descent is now 38 years old.

His friend Asia McClain Chapman once described him as a "completely normal" teen.

Hae, 18, was found buried in a shallow grave, in a Baltimore park in 1999.

Syed was convicted of first degree murder in February 2000 and also found guilty of robbery, kidnapping and false imprisonment.

Syed was convicted of murdering Hae Min Lee in Maryland, 1999

Is he still in prison?

Syed's case was retaken by the Baltimore City court system after Koenig's podcast gained a lot of publicity.

In February 2016, Syed was granted a post-conviction hearing in which as officials argued his defence lawyer failed to effectively represent him.

Four months later, retired Judge Martin Welch, who previously denied Syed's request for a retrial, vacated his conviction, and ordered a new trial.

Syed's lawyer was criticised for not calling key witness, Asia McClain Chapman, to give evidence during his initial murder trial.

Syed's defence team returned to court on November 28, 2018 at the Maryland State Court of Appeals.

The panel of seven judges will hear legal arguments relating to the appeal rulings.

What is the Serial podcast by Sarah Koenig about?

Syed's story was publicised in the first season of Sarah Koenig's 2014 podcast, Serial.

Koening, a US journalist from New York, who investigated the murder case in her popular podcast, created doubt over his conviction.

She revealed weaknesses in the evidence which was used to convict him and also raised questions about his defence lawyer, Maria Gutierrez, who was suffering from multiple sclerosis at the time.

Serial won a Peabody Award in April 2015 and was the fastest podcast in history to receive five million downloads, according to iTunes.

Millions of listeners became armchair detectives as the cult podcast — the fastest ever to pass five million downloads — illuminated holes in the case against Hae’s ex Syed, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment.

The saga of the 1999 killing, which until the podcast had just been a forgotten local US news story, was clearly ripe for a TV adaptation — and the only question was why it had taken so long.

There is no date yet for the TV series, made by Sky and HBO, to be aired, but its announcement comes after Syed’s conviction was ruled “invalid” in March and the order for a retrial was confirmed.

 

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