Book review: Adnan’s Story by Rabia Chaudry

I just this moment finished listening to ‘Adnan’s Story’ by Rabia Chaudry via Audible and it’s so good I had to share.
I haven’t listened to an audiobook since I was about 8 years old, when I obsessed over ‘Return to Oz’ which came on two cassettes and had an accompanying picture book. In those days they were called books on tape and I only had two, the other being a Famous Five mystery.

I listened avidly to the Serial podcast and also to Undisclosed, anxiously awaiting each installment and trying to make sense of the story as it unfolded. I didn’t ever check out the associated blogs, but now I wish that I had. 

Rabia’s book covers all the same ground as those podcasts but with more details and a whole other level of emotion. Rabia has a personal connection to this story, and it comes through in the narrative, making the story that much richer. Her amazing hard work over the years in working tirelessy on Adnan’s behalf is also clear, although she never uses her platform for any kind of self promotion.

Adnan Syed was just 19 years old when he was arrested for and convicted of the murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. 

The state constructed their case against him, and by constructed I mean they focused only on Adnan and bent every possible witness statement and scrap or evidence (of which there really was none) to fit their version of events. 

Adnan’s defense lawyer failed to provide him with any real legal defense, she did not establish his alibi, she did not contact key witnesses, she did not counter the allegations against Adnan in any way.

The entire spectacle was steeped in racism – Adnan was painted as a manipulative liar, a man motivated by religious extremist views, with a network of friends and relatives who would cover up his indiscretions and help him flee from justice if required.

With everything stacked against Adnan, he was denied bail, found guilty of murder, and sentenced to life in prison.

Thanks to Rabia’s hard work, and the amazing team she gathered to join her cause, Adnan’s story was thrust into the public eye and the injustice could finally be addressed.

 Adnan’s conviction has been vacated – meaning he should either be released as a free man, or be granted a new trial. The state is dragging its feet, they don’t want to admit any wrongdoing and because of this an innocent man continues to sit in prison, and a young woman’s killer remains free.

Rabia’s book tells the entire story, and she promises to share any further updates as soon as she can – hopefully the next we hear will be that Adnan is finally free.

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