A post-conviction hearing is currently underway for Adnan Syed, whose case was investigated in the extremely popular podcast Serial. Syed was convicted of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, 16 years ago. For the first time since the podcast came out, Lee's family has spoken about how the podcast and the new hearing have affected them.
In a statement released by the Maryland Attorney General, the Lee family continues to believe that Syed is guilty. “The events of this past week have reopened wounds few can imagine," they write, “It remains hard to see so many run to defend someone who committed a horrible crime, who destroyed our family, who refuses to accept responsibility, when so few are willing to speak up for Hae. She stood up for what was right, regardless of popular opinion.”
The family proceeded to address fans of the podcast directly: “Unlike those who learn about this case on the internet, we sat and watched every day of both trials—so many witnesses, so much evidence."
Syed was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in 2000, and he failed to win a retrial in 2012.
Serial reinvigorated the case after the story was downloaded millions of times, and Syed's lawyers are arguing that the podcast brought forth potential alibi witnesses who were ignored during the first trial.
Asia McClain, who was interviewed on the podcast, testified last week that she was speaking with Syed in the library during the time that the murder was supposedly taking place.
Lee's family members are convinced of Syed's guilt, and criticized McCain in their letter:
We wish Ms. Asia McClain had watched [the trial] too, because then she would not do what she is doing. Whatever her personal motives, we forgive her, but we hope she will not use Hae's name in public, which hurts when we hear it from her. She did not know Hae, and because of Adnan she never will.
The Lee family concluded their letter by reminding fans of the podcast not to forget in the midst of the debates over Syed's innocence that Hae is the true victim of the story.
Weeks like this, it is easy to forget that seventeen years ago the beautiful, blossoming song of Hae Min Lee was silenced forever by Adnan Syed. In her diary, Hae once wrote: ‘Do love and remember me forever.’ We do, and we always will.”
Lee's family will not be attending the hearings.