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True crime makes us believe we are certain about people like Adnan Syed. We should be ashamed | Amelia Tait

His release from prison has not proved his innocence or guilt – but it has highlighted how we are all guilty of pretending we know more than we do

I know for certain whether Adnan Syed was guilty. Syed, who has just had his conviction overturned after serving almost 23 years for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee, once said that only he and her murderer could be 100% certain whether Syed was innocent – but nope, sorry, I know. I’ve listened to Serial – the 2014 podcast that popularised Syed’s case – twice. I’ve spent countless hours on Reddit forums dedicated to everything the podcast missed. I’ve spotted telling remarks made in telling tones. I have read the doodled diary extracts of a strangled teenage girl. I know whether Syed is a murderer. Get rid of judges, juries and executioners: replace them with me.

I’m being facetious, obviously – there’s a reason I haven’t told you whether I’m so sure of Syed’s innocence or of his guilt. This is because I know, logically, that the certainty that surges in my chest is no such thing at all. Obviously I don’t know whether Syed committed murder more than two decades ago; obviously I don’t know whether he was framed by corrupt detectives at the Baltimore Police Department. I am just one of 340 million listeners, and about as geographically and temporally removed from the case as it’s possible to be. But still, I am certain – and I’m troubled by that, and troubled by other people’s certainty too.

Amelia Tait is a freelance features writer

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Read the full article: True crime makes us believe we are certain about people like Adnan Syed. We should be ashamed | Amelia Tait.

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