Did you get addicted to the podcast Serial two Autumns ago? If so, then you really need to read Adnan’s Story by Rabia Chaudry.
Like millions of others I was completely hooked by Serial and when it ended I needed more to make up my mind about whether Adnan Syed was innocent or guilty of the murder of Hae Min Lee. So I started to listen to the legal podcast Undisclosed which went into so much more depth than Serial could and picked over piece by piece of evidence. In doing so, it debunked one of the main pieces of evidence against Adnan – the cell phone records. The lawyers behind Undisclosed found a fax cover sheet that clearly showed that the cell phone records could not be used to prove where Adnan was at the time of the murder. It is that piece of evidence that has now led to a new trial for Adnan. There’s no doubt this wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the global attention brought to the case by Serial, and there’s also no doubt that Serial would never have happened if it wasn’t for the gritty determination of Rabia Chaudry.
Rabia is the sister of Adnan’s best friend in High School, and as a lawyer herself, she just couldn’t let her belief in Adnan’s innocence go. Instead she has dedicated much of her life since 1999 when Hae Min Lee was murdered, to trying to prove Adnan’s innocence. It was she who persuaded Sarah Koenig of Serial to get involved and she who didn’t let it end with Serial, but who instead set up a new podcast to trawl through the evidence piece by piece. Undisclosed was at times heavy listening if you weren’t a law student or a lawyer, but despite Chaudry’s clear partiality, it left me increasingly convinced that Adnan was innocent. An alibi witness and the removal of the main case against him in the cell phone records, means Adnan clearly deserved a retrial, and the family of Hae Min Lee deserve to find out what actually happened to her if Adnan is indeed innocent.
Adnan’s story lays the case out in detail. From Adnan’s upbringing and childhood, to exploration of the Muslim community in Baltimore and prejudice against it, through the run-up to Hae’s murder and the investigation and the trial, this is fascinating reading for anyone interested in the case. I think it would leave most people with little doubt that there is no evidence that Adnan was Hae’s killer. After the dramatic announcement of a new trial was made at the end of June, I am awaiting the latest legal developments with interest.