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Adnan Syed to be released, conviction tossed

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Washington, Sep 20: Adnan Syed's conviction was overturned by a judge in the US state of Maryland on Monday. It was said that there had been two other possible suspects that hadn't been disclosed to the defense at trial.

Syed had gained national attention after the podcast "Serial" featured his case, raising doubts about him being guilty.

Adnan Syed

Adnan Syed was alleged to have killed his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in 1999 in a Baltimore park. She was 18 when she was strangled and buried at the scene. Syed served over 20 years in prison for the crime, being convicted in 2000.

The 42-year-old has maintained he is innocent and has handed in multiple appeals which were denied, including an appeal to the US Supreme Court in 2019.

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Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Melissa Phinn ordered Syed immediately released on his own recognizance "in the interests of justice and fairness."

New information revealed
State's Attorney for Baltimore Marilyn Mosby asked a judge to vacate Syed's conviction last week while a further investigation is carried out. The move is said to have come as a surprise.

The decision was justified by the discovery of new information regarding two other possible suspects that were not disclosed to the defense at the trial. Cell phone data used to convict Syed was also deemed to be unreliable during the current investigation, assistant state's attorney Becky Feldman argued to the judge.

"The state has lost confidence in the integrity of his conviction," Feldman said. "We need to make sure we hold the correct person accountable.

"We will be continuing our investigation," she said, while promising to "do everything we can to bring justice to the Lee family."

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The prosecutors now face a window of 30 days to bring new charges or dismiss the case.

Syed's conviction featured in "Serial"

"Serial," a weekly podcast casting doubt on Syed's guilt, led to the case gaining worldwide attention. The mixture of investigative journalism, first-person narrative and dramatic storytelling sees a US journalist revisit Syed's conviction in 12 episodes.

Syed and Lee were high school honor students. Both of them had a migratory background, with Syed being Pakistani and Lee South Korean. They were said to have hidden their relationship because of their conservative parents.

Prosecutors had said during the trial in 2000 that Syed was a scorned lover who felt humiliated after the couple broke up.

Source: DW

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