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Georgetown Hires Adnan Syed to Promote Jail Reform

Adnan Syed's current profession involves him teaching a course called "Making an Exoneree"

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UNITED STATES: According to the prominent US university, Adnan Syed, who served 23 years in prison before being released from his conviction for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, has a job campaigning for prison reform at Georgetown University.

According to a news release from the school on Friday, Adnan Syed, whose case was the focus of the popular podcast Serial, started working as a program associate with Georgetown’s Prisons and Justice Initiative on December 12.

Georgetown’s Prison and Justice initiative hires Adnan Syed

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Since being imprisoned for more than half of his life due to a conviction that the government no longer upholds, Syed, 41, has never worked a nine-to-five office job. This position marks his first.

The Prisons and Justice Initiative at Georgetown attempts to address the “root causes and consequences of mass imprisonment” by educating those who are inside bars, providing job training to those who have been released, and educating those who are not.

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Adnan Syed’s current profession involves him teaching a course called “Making an Exoneree,” in which students reexamine erroneous convictions, make movies about their cases, and ultimately strive to liberate the innocent.

In February 1999, the body of Lee, who was 18 at the time of her murder by strangulation, was discovered buried in Baltimore’s Leakin Park. Later, Adnan Syed was accused of killing her, and his initial trial in December 1999 resulted in a mistrial.

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In a motion submitted in September, Maryland state prosecutors claimed that extensive research done in conjunction with Syed’s defense had turned up fresh information that cast doubt on his conviction. That information, which authorities purposefully withheld from Syed’s defense, mostly reinforced ideas that Lee had been slain by someone else.

A judge ruled that Syed should be freed from jail and that his conviction should be thrown out. He was released from custody when prosecutors decided not to charge him again with killing Lee.

Since then, Lee’s family has filed an appeal to uphold the conviction, claiming they were denied a meaningful opportunity to take part in the proceeding that led to Syed’s release. As of Friday, the appeals process was still ongoing.

Rabia Chaudry, a lawyer and activist who fought to have Syed’s conviction overturned, criticized Serial for leaving out details that called into question how thoroughly Lee’s death was investigated.

Along with the 2019 HBO documentary series The Case Against Adnan Syed, Chaudry also created the follow-up podcast Undisclosed and the book Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial, which also helped to keep Syed’s case in the public eye.

Marc Howard, the head of the Prisons and Justice Initiative, applauded Syed’s hiring on Friday and noted that it was due to his steadfast dedication to continuing his studies despite the dubious circumstances that for so long kept him in prison. Before being released from imprisonment, Syed had been enrolled in Georgetown’s liberal arts program from prison.

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