The American at the center of the hit podcast “Serial” has been released after 23 years in prison

A US judge on Monday overturned the conviction of a man who was held for 23 years on a murder he has always denied. This file is at the heart of the planetary hit podcast, Serial.

Adnan Syed, 42, was sentenced to life in prison in 2000 for the murder of his former girlfriend in Baltimore on the east coast of the United States. In an unexpected turn of events, city prosecutor Marilyn Mosby filed a motion last week to have the sentence overturned. She said she had doubts about Adnan Syed’s guilt and asked for his release.

Marilyn Mosby said she discovered the existence of “two alternate suspects,” critical information that was poorly used at the time and, importantly, was not shared with the defense before the trial.

Counter-inquiry initiated in 2014

The case began in February 1999 when police found the body of the victim, 18, half buried in a Baltimore woods. Adnan Syed was arrested at the age of 17 and sentenced to life imprisonment a year later.

According to prosecutors, he did not support her leaving him for someone else and strangling her. He has always maintained his innocence and claimed to be the victim of anti-Muslim prejudice.

In 2014, a team of journalists conducted a counter-investigation, narrated in 12 episodes in the first season of “Serial.” A precursor to the podcast era, this radio soap opera has been downloaded more than 300 million times, according to its producers. It also inspired an HBO documentary.

reopening of the file

Research by journalists from “Serial” had revealed that Adnan Syed’s lawyer had neglected a cell phone report favorable to the accused and the testimony of a young girl who offered him a possible alibi.

Her work led to a retrial of the case, and in March 2018, a Maryland appeals court ordered a new trial, finding that her client’s attorney had provided “ineffective assistance.”

In March 2019, the Maryland Supreme Court recognized that the attorney wrongly failed to produce certain elements, but estimated that the verdict would not have been different “given the body of the evidence” had she included it. You have therefore rejected the organization of a new process.

New episode Tuesday

Adnan Syed’s defense then turned to the United States Supreme Court. In 2019, she refused to intervene, dashed her hopes of being released.

But the Baltimore Attorney, who has a service dedicated to correcting miscarriages of justice, reopened the case, ultimately causing this latest court reversal. A new episode of “Serial” aired Tuesday morning, the podcast announced on its Twitter account Monday.

Exemption with electronic bracelet

The request for release was granted Monday during a hearing in a crowded courtroom in Baltimore. “In the interests of justice and fairness, the motion will be granted and the defendant will be released” and fitted with an electronic bracelet, Judge Melissa Phinn said.

Agents then removed Adnan Syed’s restraints while part of the room applauded before being called to order. “He can’t believe it’s true” and “now wants to spend time with his family,” his attorney Erica Suter confided outside the courthouse as his client stormed into a car without a word.

Not yet “confirmed innocent”

Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby insisted the court had “not yet found Adnan Syed innocent” and that she would await the results of additional DNA tests before deciding whether to drop the charges against him or organize a new trial.

She has 30 days to do this. Regardless of her decision, she vowed to continue the investigation “to make sure the victim’s family knows the perpetrator with certainty.”

During the hearing, the young woman’s brother spoke over the phone to express his dismay. Said of “living a nightmare that never ends,” he confided that he felt “betrayed” by prosecutors, who persisted in pinning the good culprit for years before finally changing his mind.

Radio Topic: Jordan Davis

Web text: hkr with afp

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