Maryland court reinstates Adnan Syed’s murder conviction for 1999 killing of ex-girlfriend

Maryland court reinstates Adnan Syed’s murder conviction for 1999 killing of ex-girlfriend

Syed was released 6 months ago after spending more than 2 decades in prison for murdering Hae Min Lee

By Darren Lyn

HOUSTON, US (AA) - An appeals court in the US state of Maryland reinstated the murder conviction of Adnan Syed on Tuesday for the 1999 killing of his former girlfriend, Hae Min Lee.

Syed, 41, was released last September after serving more than two decades in prison for Lee's murder after prosecutors provided new DNA evidence that pointed to other suspects. He was exonerated of the charges in October.

But the Appellate Court of Maryland said the lower court had violated the rights of the victim's brother, Young Lee, to attend a key hearing in-person. Lee had attended through a Zoom video conference.

Lee's family filed the appeal arguing that they were not properly notified of the efforts to release Syed.​​​​​​​

“Because the circuit court violated Mr. Lee’s right to notice of, and his right to attend, the hearing on the State’s motion to vacate…this Court has the power and obligation to remedy those violations, as long we can do so without violating Mr. Syed’s right to be free from double jeopardy,” court documents said.

Even though the murder charges were reinstated against Syed and a new hearing will be held regarding the evidence to vacate his conviction, officials said these are procedural issues and they do not expect Syed to be sent back to prison during the interim, according to multiple news outlets.

Lee's family said they were satisfied with the court's decision.

“We are equally pleased that the Appellate Court is directing the lower court to conduct a transparent hearing where the evidence will be presented in open court and the court’s decision will be based on evidence for the world to see," the family said in a statement.

Syed's conviction was made famous by the podcast "Serial," which delved into the case in which Lee, 18, was found buried in Baltimore's Leakin Park.

Investigators targeted Syed, Lee's ex-boyfriend, as the prime suspect. He was convicted of her murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2000.

Syed's family friend, Rabia Chaudry, who is an attorney, told NBC News that she stands by the “integrity of the evidence that exonerated Adnan” and urged the Baltimore Police and State’s Attorney’s Office to “find the source of the DNA on the victim’s shoes and find Hae Min Lee’s actual killer.”

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