Adnan Syed calls for investigation into prosecutorial misconduct on protracted legal case

Adnan Syed speaks to the media at his family's home to present new evidence regarding alleged prosecutorial misconduct in his case, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, in Windsor Mill, Md. Syed wants Attorney General Anthony Brown to review his claims. (AP)
Adnan Syed speaks to the media at his family's home to present new evidence regarding alleged prosecutorial misconduct in his case, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023, in Windsor Mill, Md. Syed wants Attorney General Anthony Brown to review his claims. (AP)
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Updated 20 September 2023
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Adnan Syed calls for investigation into prosecutorial misconduct on protracted legal case

Adnan Syed calls for investigation into prosecutorial misconduct on protracted legal case
  • The Supreme Court is considering whether a lower court violated the rights of Young Lee, whose sister Hae Min Lee was killed in 1999 when she was in high school with Syed in a Baltimore suburb

ANNAPOLIS, Md.: Adnan Syed, speaking a year after he was released from prison when a judge vacated his conviction in the murder of his ex-girlfriend, emphasized his innocence again Tuesday, as he faces another stage in a long and complex legal odyssey in Maryland’s Supreme Court after a lower court reinstated his conviction in March.
Syed, who gave a presentation lasting more than an hour that was streamed online by news outlets, called on Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown to investigate what he alleged to be prosecutorial misconduct in his case, which was chronicled in the hit podcast “Serial.”
“We have a tremendous amount of respect for Mr. Brown,” Syed said, as his mother and younger brother sat nearby on a couch in the family’s home. “He has a long history of standing up for Maryland families, and we’re just asking that he please stand up for our family as well.”
Jennifer Donelan, a spokeswoman for Brown, said the attorney general did not have the authority to investigate allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.
“We are prevented from commenting any further because, as you are aware, we are in the midst of ongoing litigation involving this case,” Donelan said in an email.
Syed spoke for more than an hour with journalists in his family’s home in Windsor Mill. Maryland’s Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in his appeal on Oct. 5.
The Supreme Court is considering whether a lower court violated the rights of Young Lee, whose sister Hae Min Lee was killed in 1999 when she was in high school with Syed in a Baltimore suburb.
The Lee family is appealing a judge’s decision to vacate Syed’s conviction, saying the family received insufficient notice about the vacatur hearing, which was scheduled on a Friday for the following Monday. Maryland’s intermediate appellate court largely affirmed their arguments, reinstated Syed’s conviction and called for a new vacatur hearing.
Attorneys for the Lee family declined to comment Tuesday.
Syed, 42, noted that the judge’s decision to quickly schedule the hearing could have been out of respect for his family, which had suffered during the two decades of his incarceration.
“They have no idea if it’s Monday, am I going to be alive on Tuesday,” Syed said. “Am I going to be alive on Wednesday? And for years this has hurt them so much that my mom would stay awake at night.”
Syed, whose presentation included 93 slides summarizing the many twists and turns his case has taken over more than two decades, pointed to multiple criticisms that have been raised about the case.
For example, he highlighted failures to bring to light testimony by an alibi witness who said she saw Syed in a library that could have changed the outcome of his trial. Syed alleged that prosecutors weren’t truthful in statements about the witness.
Syed also noted unreliable cellphone data used during his court case to corroborate his whereabouts on the day of the crime. The notice on the records specifically advised that the billing locations for incoming calls “would not be considered reliable information for location.”
Syed also stressed the failure by prosecutors to disclose alternative suspects to defense attorneys during his trial in what’s known as a Brady violation, which was cited by a Baltimore judge last year when she vacated his conviction.
While Syed has remained free since his release last year, he could potentially be sent back to prison — a point he noted on Tuesday.
“If that court makes a decision that I have to return to prison, I’m going to be there,” Syed said.
Syed, who was 17 at the time of Lee’s death, has been working as an associate for Georgetown University’s Prisons and Justice Initiative. After a mistrial, a jury convicted Syed in 2000.
Syed, who has always maintained his innocence, emphasized it again Tuesday.
“We’ve fought so hard for all these years to try to prove that I was innocent, but also to get justice for Hae and justice for her family,” Syed said.
 


Trump says Iran attack on Israel shows US ‘weakness’ under Biden

Former US President Donald Trump (L) and US President Joe Biden during. (AFP)
Former US President Donald Trump (L) and US President Joe Biden during. (AFP)
Updated 14 April 2024
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Trump says Iran attack on Israel shows US ‘weakness’ under Biden

Former US President Donald Trump (L) and US President Joe Biden during. (AFP)

SCHNECKSVILLE, United States: Donald Trump on Saturday blasted President Joe Biden over Iran’s major attack on Israel, alleging that his rival in November elections showed American “weakness” in the Middle East.
“God bless the people of Israel. They are under attack right now. That’s because we show great weakness,” he said at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania.
Iran launched an unprecedented drone and missile attack on Israel Saturday evening, after pledging retaliation for a strike on its consular building in Syria that killed seven Revolutionary Guards members, two of them generals.
Trump, who while in office ordered the killing of a top Revolutionary Guard leader in Baghdad and withdrew the United States from the Iran nuclear accord, has repeatedly accused his Democratic opponent of a soft approach toward Tehran.
“The weakness that we’ve shown, it’s unbelievable, and it would not have happened if we were in office,” Trump said Saturday.
“But America prays for Israel, we send our absolute support to everyone in harm’s way.”
Biden meanwhile was huddling at the White House with his key military and national security advisers, saying on X that the US “commitment to Israel’s security against threats from Iran and its proxies is ironclad.”

 


Major airlines cancel flights, reroute planes as Iran launches retaliatory attack on Israel

An Aeroflot Airbus A320-200 aircraft takes off at Sheremetyevo International Airport outside Moscow, Russia. (REUTERS file photo
An Aeroflot Airbus A320-200 aircraft takes off at Sheremetyevo International Airport outside Moscow, Russia. (REUTERS file photo
Updated 18 min 4 sec ago
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Major airlines cancel flights, reroute planes as Iran launches retaliatory attack on Israel

An Aeroflot Airbus A320-200 aircraft takes off at Sheremetyevo International Airport outside Moscow, Russia. (REUTERS file photo
  • The return flight from Tehran to Moscow has been canceled

MOSCOW: An Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Tehran which took off on Saturday evening will land in Makhachkala in Russia’s Dagestan region and a number of flights to Egypt and the United Arab Emirates will be postponed, the airline said.
“Flight SU514 Moscow — Tehran ... will land at the Makhachkala airport,” Aeroflot said on its Telegram messaging app. “In order to ensure flight safety, the plane will return to Moscow after refueling.”
The return flight from Tehran to Moscow has been canceled, it added.
The Russian flagship carrier also said it was postponing until at least later on Sunday flights from Moscow and St. Petersburg to the Red Sea resort town of Hurghada in Egypt, from Moscow to Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt, and from Moscow to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the UAE.

The Switzerland flagship carrier Swiss International Air lines also suspended Tel Aviv service according to Wall Street Journal.

United Airlines has canceled Saturday’s planned flight from Newark to Tel Aviv due to restrictions on Israeli airspace, the airline said in a statement on Saturday.

Israel El Al Airlines has canceled 15 flights scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, the carrier said on Saturday as hostilities with Iran surged and Israel closed its airspace as a precaution.
Foreign destinations affected include Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Milan, Bucharest, Sofia, Athens, Dubai and Moscow, the El Al statement said.

 

 

 

 


US House to consider pro-Israel bill next week, lawmaker says after Iran attack

The US Capitol in Washington, DC, on March 8, 2024. (AFP)
The US Capitol in Washington, DC, on March 8, 2024. (AFP)
Updated 14 April 2024
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US House to consider pro-Israel bill next week, lawmaker says after Iran attack

The US Capitol in Washington, DC, on March 8, 2024. (AFP)
  • Israel has killed more than 30,600 civilians in Gaza, according to Palestinian health officials

WASHINGTON: The US House of Representatives will make a change in its schedule to consider legislation that supports Israel and holds Iran accountable, House Majority Leader Steve Scalize said in a statement on Saturday.
“The House of Representatives stands strongly with Israel, and there must be consequences for this unprovoked attack,” he said in a statement. More details will follow, he said.
Scalize’s office did not immediately respond to an inquiry seeking clarification of what legislation would be considered.
It was unclear whether Scalize was referring to a stand-alone bill to aid Israel, or the $95 billion supplemental spending bill that includes $14 billion for Israel, in addition to $60 billion for Ukraine, support for Taiwan and billions of dollars in humanitarian assistance.
That package passed the Senate with 70 percent support in February but has been blocked in the House, whose Republican leaders will not call it up for a vote, largely because of their objection to further funding for Ukraine.
The package also faces resistance from a handful of left-leaning Democrats who object to sending more money to Israel while it pursues a military campaign that has killed more than 30,000 civilians in Gaza, according to Palestinian health officials. US Senator Mitch McConnell released a statement on Saturday evening urging the House to move forward with the larger aid bill that includes funds for Ukraine and Taiwan. “The national security supplemental that has waited months for action will provide critical resources to Israel and our own military forces in the region,” the statement said.

 


Six killed in Sydney shopping center attack

People are led out from the Westfield Shopping Centre where multiple people were stabbed in Sydney, Saturday, April 13, 2024.
People are led out from the Westfield Shopping Centre where multiple people were stabbed in Sydney, Saturday, April 13, 2024.
Updated 13 April 2024
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Six killed in Sydney shopping center attack

People are led out from the Westfield Shopping Centre where multiple people were stabbed in Sydney, Saturday, April 13, 2024.
  • Multiple people were stabbed by the unidentified assailant, who was shot dead by a policewoman at the scene

SYDNEY: Six people were killed and several others injured — including a nine-month-old baby — when a knife-wielding attacker rampaged through a busy Sydney shopping center on Saturday.
Australian police said multiple people were stabbed by the unidentified assailant, who was tracked down and shot dead by a policewoman who is being hailed as a national hero.
The incident occurred at the sprawling Westfield Bondi Junction mall complex, which was packed with thousands of Saturday afternoon shoppers.
New South Wales police commissioner Karen Webb said five women and one man had died. A baby was undergoing emergency surgery.
Police said the attacker is believed to be a 40-year-old man who was known to law enforcement, but he has not yet been formally identified.
Webb played down suggestions that the attack could have been an act of terrorism and said it is believed the attacker acted alone.
“If it is in fact the person we believe it is, then... it’s not a terrorism incident,” she said.
A New South Wales Ambulance spokesperson told AFP that eight patients were taken to various hospitals across Sydney, including the baby who was taken to the city’s Children’s Hospital.
“They all have traumatic injuries,” the official said.
Security camera footage showed a man wearing an Australian rugby league jersey running around the shopping center with a large knife.
Injured people lay lifeless on the floor, or surrounded by pools of blood.
Eyewitnesses described a scene of panic, with shoppers scrambling to safety and police trying to secure the area.
Many people took shelter in shops, trying to protect themselves, their families and frightened strangers.
Ayush Singh was working at a cafe inside the center when the incident occurred.
“I saw the whole thing in front of me,” he told AFP. “I saw a lot of people running around, I saw the guy running with the knife and people running away.”
Singh helped two elderly ladies who were having a coffee to hide inside his cafe. He heard three gunshots ring out, then saw the man lying on the ground.
“It was really scary,” he said. “I’ve felt really safe (in Australia). I’ve been here for six years. I didn’t feel unsafe but now I feel scared.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese praised the bravery of strangers who helped each other and the woman police inspector who rushed headlong toward danger.
“She is certainly a hero. There is no doubt that she saved lives through her action,” Albanese said.

Pranjul Bokaria had just finished up work and was doing some shopping when the stabbing occurred.
She ended up running to a nearby shop and taking shelter in a break room.
“It was scary, there are some people who were emotionally vulnerable and crying,” she told AFP.
She escaped using an emergency exit with other shoppers and staff, which took them to a back street.
She described a scene of “chaos,” with people running and police swarming the area.
“I am alive and grateful,” she said.
As night fell, dozens of heavily armed police and ambulances were still outside the shopping complex, with stretchers ready to take people to nearby hospitals.
The sound of police sirens and helicopters filled the air.
The mall has been locked down and police have urged people to avoid the area.
Britain’s King Charles III said he and his wife Queen Camilla were “utterly shocked and horrified” by the stabbing.
Pope Francis said he was “deeply saddened” by the attack and sent his “spiritual solidarity to all those affected” in a message addressed to the archbishop of Sydney.
Such attacks are virtually unheard of in Australia, which has relatively low rates of violent crime.
 

 


Rwandan expelled from US given life genocide term

Beatrice Munyenyezi is escorted by police officers at a court in Kigali, Rwanda. (AFP file photo)
Beatrice Munyenyezi is escorted by police officers at a court in Kigali, Rwanda. (AFP file photo)
Updated 13 April 2024
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Rwandan expelled from US given life genocide term

Beatrice Munyenyezi is escorted by police officers at a court in Kigali, Rwanda. (AFP file photo)
  • The sentencing came days after Rwanda marked 30 years since the genocide carried out by the extremist Hutu regime between April and July 1994, which left more than 800,000 people dead, mostly Tutsi but also moderate Hutus, according to a UN tally

KIGALI: A Rwandan woman expelled to her homeland three years ago from the US has been given a life sentence for her role in the country’s 1994 genocide, The New Times newspaper reported on Saturday.
A court in the southern town of Huye found Beatrice Munyenyezi guilty of the charges of murder as a genocide crime, complicity in genocide, incitement to commit genocide, and complicity in rape.
However, she was acquitted on a charge of planning genocide, the Rwandan-based national paper said.
The sentencing came days after Rwanda marked 30 years since the genocide carried out by the extremist Hutu regime between April and July 1994, which left more than 800,000 people dead, mostly Tutsi but also moderate Hutus, according to a UN tally.

FASTFACT

Beatrice Munyenyezi was deported in April 2021 from the US after serving a 10-year prison sentence there for lying about her involvement in the genocide as she set about obtaining American citizenship.

Munyenyezi, 54, denied all the charges against her.
But the court concluded she was guilty of ordering and committing murders and attacks herself, including that of a nun who was raped on her orders.
Nicknamed the “commander,” the investigation and several witness accounts said that Munyenyezi was supervising a roadblock in Huye — then called Butare — where she identified Tutsis and had them killed, and also encouraged Hutu extremists to rape women.
She was deported in April 2021 from the US after serving a 10-year prison sentence there for lying about her involvement in the genocide as she set about obtaining American citizenship, saying she faced persecution in her own country.
The case attracted US attention as her mother-in-law Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, a former minister in the genocidal regime, and her husband Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, a former local militia leader, were also on trial for genocide crimes at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania.
They were also sentenced to life in prison, in 2011, before their terms were reduced to 47 years on appeal.