The Trial and Conviction of Adnan Syed

  • Category: Crime,
  • Words: 402 Pages: 2
  • Published: 07 May 2021
  • Copied: 105

Adnan Syed’s trial was one of the greatest signs of racial and religious bias within a courtroom. Had Adnan’s religion and culture not been brought up by the prosecution, he might be free today. The negative connotation that Americans have of foreign countries and people who don’t follow catholicism or christianity helped Vicki Wash sway the jury into making Syed appear as a criminal. The prosecution continuesly brings up Pakistan and the relatives that Adnan has there. In addition, they also argue that Muslim men have a “duty” to remain honored and respected by women, and that that could be possible motive for killing Hae. While these are somewhat good claims, these facts are unchecked and stereotypical and therefore shouldn’t have been used in the courtroom. Because of this, it can be concluded that race, religion, and culture played a part in the conviction of Adnan Syed.

Adnan’s heritage was constantly weaponized against him throughout this case. Within Episode 10, Vicki Wash, the main prosecutor, used the word “Pakistan/Pakistani” six times, everytime with a negative connotation. For example, she tries to compare Adnan to Samuel Sheinbein, a 17 year old in Maryland who was convicted of brutally killing a teenager in 1997 and then fled to Israel. She says, “It’s our position your honor that if you issue a bail, then you are issuing him a passport under these circumstances to flee the country. We do not want another Sheinbein situation your honor” (Koenig, 2015, 00:00:00). She says this because, according to her, Adnan has an uncle in Pakistan who he could potentially run away to. Doing this helped her emphasise this narrative to the jury that people of Pakistani culture and background are criminals that try to flea to their homeland. In contrast, Sarah Koenig, narrator of the Serial podcast, claims that this fact isn’t reliable whatsoever. She says, “That information about the badass uncle? I think they got that from Adnan’s science teacher. I’m not kidding” (Koenig, 2015, 00:00:00). Her use of sarcasm reveals how seriously she views Wash’s “evidence”. The evidence provided is not only unreliable, but it’s also smothered in racist stereotypes about Pakistani people and asserts this idea that just because there was a similar case before, every case will be the same. What makes this even worse is that she continues to state that Adnan is Pakistani when he is, in fact, and American citizen. She continues to push this narrative in order to criminazlize him even further and to place deoubts onto the jury. Adnan embracement of his heritage wad a beautiful thing, until Wash turned it into a crime.

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