(Reuters) – A Maryland appeals court on Tuesday reconvicted Adnan Syed of the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend, a case that drew attention after an audio “serial” cast cast doubt on his conviction.
After an investigation identified problems in the case, a circuit court judge last year overturned Syed’s conviction for killing Hae Min Lee and ordered his release. He spent more than 20 years in prison.
The judge left it up to the King to decide whether to retry him and they decided to drop the case.
On Tuesday, the Maryland Court of Appeals Committee in its 2-1 decision ordered a rehearing of the case, saying the court violated the right of the victim’s family to attend a decisive hearing in the case.
“This court has the power and obligation to remedy these violations, as long as we can do so without violating Mr. Syed’s right not to be subjected to double threats,” the committee said in its decision.
“As a result, the Chamber’s ruling overturned Mr. Syed’s conviction, resulting in the reinstatement of the original convictions and sentence,” the statement said.
The commission did not specifically order Sayed to be returned to prison, but gave two months to “authorize” its decision to give the parties “time to assess how to proceed.”
Syed maintained that he was innocent and did not kill Hae Min Lee, who was 18 when she was strangled and buried in Baltimore Park. The podcast “The Series,” produced by Chicago public radio station WBEZ, brought the issue to national attention in 2014.
Al-Sayed’s lawyer said that he is still at large and that the final decision is not related to Al-Sayed’s innocence, but rather the judicial process. The attorney said Syed’s team will seek a review in Maryland’s Supreme Court.
“The Maryland Court of Appeals reinstated Adnan’s conviction, not because the motion for eviction was flawed, but because Ms. Lee’s brother did not appear in person at the facilitator hearing,” Syed’s attorney, Erica Sutter, told Reuters.
There is no reason to re-traumatize Adnan by returning him to convicted criminal status. »
Last September, the prosecution filed a motion to overturn the conviction after conducting a year-long investigation with a public defender representing Sayed.
Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Melissa Finn later ordered Syed’s release from prison, where he was serving a life sentence.
Covering by Kanishka Singh in Washington. Editing by Debbie Babington and Stephen Coates
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