The family of Adnan Syed, the man convicted of killing 18-year-old Hae Min Lee in the parking lot of a Baltimore Best Buy in 1999 and now the center of attention thanks to massively popular podcast “Serial” that picks apart the case against him in weekly episodes, has decided to speak out for the first time.
Syed’s mother, Shamim, and his brother Yusef, spoke to The Guardian. The oldest Syed brother, Tanveer, estranged himself from the family following Adnan’s conviction. Syed’s father, the family says, isn’t listening.
“We don’t want him to,” Yusuf tells The Guardian. “We don’t want him to know it exists. He knows it exists but — it’s a very fragile state.”
“Serial” has become somewhat of a phenomenon over the last 10 weeks, captivating its growing audience of millions.
“Do you listen?” I ask Shamim.
“After everybody goes to sleep,” she says. “Eleven, twelve o’clock, I lay down here on this sofa and I listen.” She says she sometimes plays just one part over and over. “It’s the bit at the beginning where the prison operator says, ‘This is a Global-Tel link prepaid call from …’ and Adnan says, ‘Adnan Syed.'”
“So sweet,” Shamim says. “I listen to that again and again and again.”
Yusuf listens alone too, “in my room, by myself, so all the information can sink in better. After the episode’s done, I think about it all day. What does this mean? What does that mean? Everything Sarah’s saying is new to me. All I knew growing up was that my brother was arrested for a murder, but we believed Jay was responsible [for Adnan’s wrongful conviction, he means, or maybe even for the murder itself — he doesn’t know]. So when I hear the podcast it’s all new information. Sarah is so thorough and clean. She’s doing a better job investigating than the police did. It makes me so frustrated and furious that there was so little evidence. Really? That’s all you had? To take away my brother’s life? That’s all you had?”
As for what’s coming in the series, the family says they don’t know any more than anyone else does, but that they’re always anxious to hear more.
They have also said the podcast has been surprisingly good for them.
“I haven’t told Sarah this,” Yusuf tells The Guardian, “but we feel Serial has brought us all back together. My older brother Tanveer — who was estranged for 15 years — he came home. When he heard my brother’s voice, it brought back all the memories. He’s visited us three or four times already.”
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