• US court grants ‘Serial’ murder appeal

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    WASHINGTON: A man convicted of murdering his girlfriend in 1999 and featured in a recent hit US podcast will be given a chance to appeal his sentence, a Maryland court said in a decision made available Saturday.

    Adnan Syed, 34, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2000 for the murder of his former girlfriend Hae Min Lee.

    The story of the young couple become a sensation after it was featured in the blockbuster weekly podcast “Serial.”

    According to the appeals court decision, Adnan Syed has until March 16 to trigger the appeal over whether he had adequate representation at trial.

    Prosecutors from the state of Maryland argued against allowing the appeal, saying Syed was given a fair defense and there is no need to reopen his case.

    The court is scheduled to hear arguments in June.

    Serial is a mix of investigative journalism, first-person narrative and dramatic story telling. It’s first season focused solely on Syed’s story and included 12 episodes.

    The show cast doubt on whether Syed received proper representation at trial and whether he committed the murder of Lee.

    During his trial, prosecutors argued that Syed strangled Lee after school in the parking lot of a suburban Baltimore Best Buy electronics store, jealous that she was seeing another, older man after they were no longer dating each other.

    Both were honor students and children from immigrant families — one from Pakistan, the other from South Korea — who had concealed their relationship from their conservative parents.

    The show was downloaded over 5 million times on the Apple iTunes store. It is also available at www.serialpodcast.org.

    AFP

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