READ: Hae Min Lee’s Diary [FULL TEXT]

Adnan Syed

HBO Adnan Syed

HBO’s new documentary, The Case Against Adnan Syed, premieres tonight. While you’re watching the documentary, you’ll likely be interested in reading Hae Min Lee’s diary. Syed is in jail, convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee. But some believe he’s not guilty. Hae Min Lee wrote about Syed in her diary, and excerpts are featured in the documentary and in the Serial podcast. You can read her diary in this article, below.

Hae Min Lee’s diary has been made public. It was included in the recent appeal filings. You can find it on the Maryland Court’s website as part of the public records from Syed’s case files. In a document that is 592 pages long, the “Diary of Hae Min Lee” is listed as starting on Extract Page #E 001289. In terms of the court document link above, that’s starting at approximately page 517. Since this is a public record from a court trial, we’ve extracted the diary from the public records and are including them in the document below.  The first page is the first page of the court document where the diary appears. Then the document below skips directly to her diary.

View this document on Scribd

The creators of HBO’s new documentary say that the series is going to present new evidence about Syed. Amy Berg, the director, said she wasn’t satisfied with the Serial podcast, which led her to make this documentary. 

Excerpts of Hae Min Lee’s diary were played on Serial. But they also play a major role in the documentary, Harper’s Bazaar shared. Excerpts from her diary are used in voiceover form during the documentary, along with an exclusive new interview with Syed.

Berg told Harper’s Bazaar that her assistant editor tracked the diary letters down for her and recorded herself reading the letters just for reference purposes. But when Berg played the recordings for Hae’s friends, they realized that her editor sounded exactly like Hae. “When I played those recordings for some of Hae’s friends, we realized that she sounded exactly like her. We really wanted to maintain a sensitive touch, while bringing Hae to life.”

An appeals court just decided on March 8 that Adnan Syed’s conviction would be upheld. His lawyers have vowed to fight that decision.

Their full statement reads:

We are devastated by the Court of Appeals’ decision but we will not give up on Adnan Syed.

Unfortunately we live in a binary criminal justice system in which you either win or you lose. Today we lost by a 4-3 vote.

Our criminal justice system is desperately in need of reform. The obstacles to getting a new trial are simply too great.

There was a credible alibi witness who was with Adnan at the precise time of the murder and now the Court of Appeals has said that witness would not have affected the outcome of the proceeding. We think just the opposite is true. From the perspective of the defendant, there is no stronger evidence than an alibi witness.


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