What Does Adnan Syed's Family Think of Serial? His Brother & Mother Speak Out on CBS

PARK CITY, KS - FEBUARY 26: Police tape hangs across the street in front of the house that Dennis Rader lives in February 26, 2005 in Park City, Kansas. Rader is the suspect whom police have arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder in connection with the 10 deaths now tied to the serial killer known as BTK. (Photo by Larry W. Smith/Getty Images)
Source: Larry W. Smith/Getty Images News/Getty Images

While mystery surrounds a recent Reddit posting attributed, rather questionably, to the brother of Hae Min Lee, the 1999 murder victim whose story has attracted innumerous listeners via journalist Sarah Koenig’s podcast Serial, we can assign a touch more validity to the forthcoming words of another key party’s family: Adnan Syed’s — the young man who was charged with and imprisoned for Lee’s murder 15 years ago, but whose innocence Koenig is all but sure of — mother and brother appeared on CBS to vocalize their side of the story.

While neither mother Rahman nor brother Yusef has participated in Serial, it is clearly the podcast that has prompted this sudden public expression of their vantage point of Adnan and his story — in all these years, the family has never come forward publicly about the case, likely assuming that no good would come from such action. But the swarming “Free Adnan” mentality that has resulted from Koenig’s work seems to have been due provocation for the Syed family’s first interview.

Among the more pressing questions that the listening public might have was that of the family’s opinion on Serial. After countless castigations have been thrown at the podcast for its potential frivolity, or even toxicity, in the handling of a real life murder case — not to mention the ill will stirred by the aforementioned Reddit post written, allegedly, by Lee’s brother — Yusef declared the Syed family firm proponents of Koenig’s project.

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"We are just so thankful that the story is out there," Yusef says to CBS This Morning, who listens to the podcast every week. “I wake up as soon as they put it on, and I’ll listen to it.” While the fact that his brother’s incarceration is receiving the raised eyebrow of which the Syed family has always deemed it worthy, the podcast can also drum up some dire feelings for Adnan’s loved ones. "Some days I will be like, 'Oh this is a really great episode.' And some days I'll feel so down and depressed."

Unfortunately, the CBS morning show didn't allow for the organic conversation that we all, Koenig included, might have wanted from the Syeds, chopping in empathetic soundbites, and cutting to literary analogies from New York Times media columnist David Carr, where more in depth discussion on Adnan's side of the story, the implications of his arrest, the ramifications of Serial, et al might have been more valuable, compelling, and cathartic for the family in question. 

We don't know if Rahman, Yusef, or Adnan's father might find their way onto Serial; it is certainly understandable that such an experience would prove too trying for a family still entrenched in grief. But listeners, at least those in the impassioned "Adnan didn't do it" camp, might feel validated to know that the Syeds seem wholly on board with the podcast, so assured of Adnan's innocence that — even when facing instances of Koenig's diplomatic ruminations on the young man's potential guilt in the case — they find the quest for truth a vital and valuable mission.

Image: Serialpodcast.org

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