Netflix: September 8, 2017, Rafay/Burns case: The Confession Tapes, True East

Adding to the astonishingly popular “Making A Murderer”, and to “Fight For Justice: David & Me”, Ray Klonsky and Marc Lamy’s documentary about David McCallum (which Netflix bought from Markham Street Films), Netflix has commissioned a series on wrongful convictions beginning with a segment on the Rafay/Burns case to appear next month. The segment is coming at a good time and should augment the investigative work now being done on the case. Kelly Loudenberg, the director, has done extensive interviews, especially with people not seen before in relation to Rafay/Burns. I think it will turn more than a few heads and make skeptics reconsider their views.

It comes out Sept. 8 and is called “The Confession Tapes” and the individual episode is called “True East”. It’s the only episode that is two parts and it is the first episode on this Netflix series.


Dan Satterberg, Prosecuting Attorney
516 Third Ave W400
Seattle, WA

Please urge him to take a second look at the case for whatever reasons you think.

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About ken

I am a former Toronto teacher and writer now living in Vancouver. I work with Dr. Rubin 'Hurricane' Carter, with whom I published Eye of the Hurricane: My path from Darkness to Freedom (Chicago review Press, 2011), as Director of Media Relations and as an advocate for wrongly convicted prisoners. Other publication credits include Songs of Aging Children (Arsenal Pulp Press, 1992) a book of short stories about troubled youth, and Taking Steam, a play co-authored with the late Brian Shein, staged at New York's Jewish Repertory Theatre and Toronto in 1983. Life Without (Quattro Books, 2012) is a novella about a New York cab driver wrongly convicted of killing his pregnant wife. Gary Geddes (Lt. Governor's Award for Literary Excellence) described it as "one of the most brilliant and harrowing short novels I've read since I went on a John Hawkes binge."

52 thoughts on “Netflix: September 8, 2017, Rafay/Burns case: The Confession Tapes, True East

  1. Wow! This is great news, and I wish everyone involved in the case for Atif/Rafay wonderful results. I am excited in anticipation of this release.

    The “injustices in the justice system” movement seems to be making headway thanks to strong efforts like these from Innocents Projects and film. Not only are these defendants factually innocent – there are multiple lines of evidence exonerating them.

    • Hello Margaret,
      I would recommend you watch the two segments. As to what’s going on now, I am not in a position to give you specific details. I will confirm, however, that there is an ongoing investigation.

      • After watching the netflix series I recall the officer saying they ordered salad and wine? The legal drinking age in the usa is 21..did they get served? or was the officers point that they ordered it and failed to produce ID.. purposefully to be remembered?

        • I’d like to use the phrase “point being?” here in relation to law enforcement. The police implied a lot of things. Maybe it was implied that people don’t order wine with salad? Or they were breaking the law by drinking, as you say. As to drinking age, they are state governed and not country-wide.
          What do a minority of police and prosecutors do when there is no evidence of guilt, yet they want a conviction? They do a lot of implying, so that we, the public, will draw conclusions that have no legal or probative basis. The so-called circumstantial case against Burns and Rafay was based on this type of evidence.

  2. I watched the Netflix episodes about this case. I couldn’t watch them in one sitting, however, because they made me so angry and upset that it was overwhelming. This is yet another example of how the criminal justice system is often not at all just. I’m outraged for all of the victims– the ones murdered and the ones falsely convicted. They deserve for the police and prosecutors to put in the time and effort necessary to make sure the right person is paying the price for the crime instead of just whoever is the most convenient to close the case. The evidence should lead them to the criminal. They should not first choose the criminal and then try to craft the evidence around them. Why have all of these forensic testing advancements if you’re not even going to utilize them? Use them only if they fit your narrative, ignore them if they don’t, right? It’s just outrageous and a complete miscarriage of justice. These men’s lives have been stolen from them. But hey, at least the prosecutor was a “cute” “snappy dresser.”

      • me too, i am feeling so down now knowing they are rotting away in jail for something they didn’t do! that Charles Mertel judge really pissed me off at the end. has he thought for a second that just MAYBE he is wrong? even if it is a 5% chance, don’t talk as if his judgement is truth! it is just his bias judgement!!! judgements can be WRONG!! argh i am so depressed over this. how does he and a panel of dumb twats have a right to do this to them? it isn’t beyond reasonable doubt!! and to think they would’ve faced the death penalty if they got extradited back to America!! there should be a law against the death penalty or life sentencing if there is no physical evidence!! arghh

        • I’d like to hold forth on Mertel for a couple of hours–his out and out prejudicial rulings and antipathy for the defendants (in my view, anyway). He should have recused himself. Instead we have appeal courts in Washington backing up a terribly flawed trial with specious reasoning. Maybe the worst aspect of his work on that case was his obvious belief that the verdict represented absolute truth. “Mr. Burns, you are amoral.” “Mr. Rafay, I can see you feel remorse.” These are the kinds of assumptions that proceed from blindness. If they are wrongly convicted, then the statements are patently false. There is a difference between a murderer and a convicted murderer inasmuch as verdicts are prone to error.
          The Rafay/Burns case established a legal precedent in Canada: Thank God! A Canadian cannot be extradited to face the death penalty.

  3. I just watched True East. I’m a 67 year old female, and I’m shocked by the investigation and conviction of these two teenagers. I say teenagers because that was what they were. They were kids. I grew up in Oregon, and at 19, a friend and I tried so hard to convince a pizza restaurant that we were legal age, and that even though we both had our purses, we both had forgotten our driver’s licenses. Those boys would have ordered wine for a number of reasons, but for me who hates the taste of alcohol, I would have ordered it because I wanted to demonstrate to myself and the world, that I was grown up. There are so many obvious misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the adolescent mind in the trial. It’s heartbreaking to see. It is also terrifying to see how the legal system operates. Good luck to you all. I so hope you win.

    • Hi Barbara,
      Thank you for this perceptive response. Although the piece does not mention ‘tunnel vision’, it certainly comes into play. When the police have a suspect, the facts are changed to fit the theory instead of the other way around. So they try to say that every contact these kids had with people on the fateful evening were attempts to establish an alibi, including Sebastian coming into the lobby to complain that the scrim was still covering the movie screen. I found that bit about the red wine really ludicrous (if it weren’t so tragic). They ordered red wine and salad to establish an alibi. No one was ever able to explain how they could have left the movie theater to commit the crime when the crime was taking place as the movie began. But tunnel vision creates ridiculous scenarios and ignores what can’t be explained.

  4. I felt unadulterated rage for the judge at the end of the documentary. Then I felt absolutely sick and desperate for those two young men. The ignorance and spite that went on throughout the case is astounding. Those in power in Canada who still haven’t worked to fix this wrongful conviction should be utterly ashamed of themselves.
    I thought Canada was a modern country, but this is barbaric.
    I can only hope Atif and Sebastian are freed as soon as possible. To lose your sister to meningitis then your whole family and then your whole life?
    One day the law enforcement and judges and everyone involved in this prosecution, including the jurors, will realise the gravity of what they’ve done through laziness, egoic malice and ignorance.

  5. Dear Ken,
    Thanks for your valiant efforts in seeking justice for the wrongly convicted. As a sociologist, I am all too aware of how rarely justice is served, especially when vulnerable individuals are tricked into confessing. It is hard for people to understand why Sebastian and Atif would confess to something they didn’t do, but we are social beings who are deeply susceptible to the duplicitous tactics of those who wish us harm. At a time when people like Trump act with impunity, it is admirable that you are dedicated to righting some of the many wrongs of the criminal (in)justice system. Wishing you the best of luck with your case.

    • Trump is extremely dangerous on this level. He encourages police officers to rough up suspects, to bang their heads into car doors. Trump thinks an arrest is a guilty verdict. Such ignorance is beneath contempt.

    • My partner was tricked into admitting his guilt even though he was innocent., luckily not anything serious. He did so because he was suffering with severe anxiety for many years and was unable to speak to people and to leave the house. He was questioned many times and they said if he agreed to admit to it, he wouldn’t have to go and be questioned again and he would have fine and that’s all then finished, so for his health he did it. He even said he would only admit because of his health. They exploited him as they knew how ill he was and how difficult he found it all. I was not happy with the decision but it was causing him great difficulty and he had to admit guilt even though he didn’t do it for his health. I fought it but they said, he’s admitted it so basically tough. Even though it was explained the reasons why. I have a deep deep distrust in all legal and justice systems now.

  6. That judge was such a crook! Please fight for the law innocent Men to be released! The “justice” system frightens me and that judge needs to be fired asap

    • Dee and Lucy,
      I doubt that judge is still sitting but, if he is, I hope he gets your message. The problem with Judge Mertel is one of the problems at the root of the criminal justice system. Because a jury, however misinformed or prejudiced, has rendered a verdict, we are asked to believe that the verdict (a word that is derived from truth) is the truth itself. But the verdict can be right or wrong; it’s not infallible. Truth, as Rubin Carter used to say, is on a higher plane, a higher level of consciousness, than the law. Officers of the court will often hide behind a verdict to cover up their malfeasance or their lack of concern about ruining innocent lives.

  7. Hi, I just watched True East. I am horrified with the investigation and conviction of these teenagers. I am eighteen years old, I may be an adult in the eyes of the law, but I am still struggling to find myself and my place in the world. I wouldn’t say that I’m not mature, but I am still naive in ways where my perception of the world is hugely different from someone who is over 25(with a fully developed brain). This is simply preposterous. All of the evidence completely cleared these two of any involvement in the murders. The amount of times during the so-called “confession” that Sebastian and Atif changed their story of how everything occurred is astonishing. I still can’t believe that the jury and the police actually were able to use that as evidence against them.
    Being someone who has my own experiences with murder. Both my uncle and aunt were murdered within the same year of 2016, I can understand the immature response that both Atif and Sebastian had. When I found out about my aunt’s murder I was so shocked that I actually laughed because I thought this couldn’t possibly be happening to me. It wasn’t until the memorial that I was sobbing because I could grasp the reality of what happened and that I wouldn’t ever see my aunt again.
    With my uncle’s murdered, it was also really hard to understand what was going on. I couldn’t really have a break-down or respond to it because at the time I couldn’t find where my dad was on that night. I had to keep my composure and in some ways that could’ve been perceived as it didn’t affect me. But it definitely did. My family and I searched everywhere for my dad and finally found him in the morning, he was so distraught by the loss of his brother that he couldn’t bring himself to answer the phone.
    With that being said, I can only imagine what Atif was going through. I want to help as much as I can to get these men out from prison where they shouldn’t be. I am currently studying journalism at MSU Denver in Colorado and I want to make sure everyone knows about this case. Good luck to you all.

  8. I stayed up watching the first episode, featuring your clients. I’m a 19 year old girl studying English and Law in college and I am absolutely baffled at this case. From the Mr. Big operation, the no hard evidence, and the clear signs that pointed to the idea of Islamic extremists being involved has blown me away. I connected to both Atif and Sebastian so much that tears are streaming down my face as I type this. I wish you all the best of luck and would love to help and support in any way that I can. Thank you for taking on cases like this.

  9. Hi, I truly hope these innocent guys get out of jail. They pressured Sebastian to confess a crime he didn’t do and now they both just look so bad in everybodys eyes. I feel so bad for him and Atif and I wish you the best with solving the case!

  10. I just finished watching the Netflix Documentary Taped Confessions. Seeing the title, I anticipated that I would be watching actual confessions, not manipulated ones. When episode 1 began, i was a bit familair, having seen preiously a documentary on youtube. I am once again shocked ( not really ) how crime investigators,prosecutors, judges, basically the justice systems as a whole and the media failed these two defendants – whether they did it or didnt. Their right to a speedy trail – denied! The right to a fair trial – denied! The right to put up a defense based upon the other evidence leading to the fact that indeed others may have committed the murders – denied. The failures of investigators to follow other leads. This happens all the time. It is wrong. I live in Canada, on the east coast, and I am embarrassed of the actions of the RCMP in this case. There rights as canadian citizens and their rights under the charter were horrifically violated. Burns and Rafay may have been 19, but they were both young naive 19 year olds. And again, whether they did it or not, they were not innocent until proven guilty, they were guilty until proven innocent. Seems the law got flipped.

  11. My husband and I watched ‘True East’ on Netflix last evening, stunned and saddened by the level of injustice. Today with modern science, DNA testing etc why does the 21st century relay on outdated methods of proving innocence of or guilt? Confessions are as reliable as witnesses and wide open for corruptness and coercion. Would one be convicted on evidence of a finger print match determined the old fashion way?
    I know many cases have been overturned with modern day DNA, why not for these boys? Greed, embarrassment of being wrong? What does this say for us as a society? It’s not okay to look the other way and pray that it doesn’t happen to your son or daughter some day.
    Is there anything I and my husband can do to help these young men? We are senior citizens with not much education. We do however posses an absolute passion for truth and love to prevail for each and everyone of us living on this planet together.

    • I am moved by what you write here, Cristine. Since the response on websites and twitter has been so significant, I will get back to people about what can be done in a practical sense. Strategies are being discussed right now.

      • Hi Ken:
        I too would like to know how I can reach out to the families. I would like to be able to write them letters of support. I was horrified watching the documentary. How can this happen? What’s to say it couldn’t happen to me? Or worse, one of my children? My heart breaks for everyone.

        • Yes, it could happen to anyone. The first rule of thumb is never talk to the police, so the first mistake the two of them made was talking to the Bellevue police without a lawyer present. Adults talk to the police in the same way, thinking that the truth will protect them. If the police are talking to you, consider yourself a suspect.

  12. As expected, in the hands of a skillfully developed documentary, people can be persuaded to believe whatever the filmmakers want them to believe. In this case, that Burns and Rafay were the victims of big bad corrupt police. There are many concrete arguments that could be made against this. But I believe the best rebuttal comes in the form of the last court to fully review the case. The following is attributed to US District Court Judge Marsha Pechman in Burns v. Warner released December 2015. I’m putting some of her highlights. For those interested in basing their decision on just a one-sided documentary you can google Burns v. Warner.

    ” Petitioner cites the Miller opinion for the proposition that “youth is a time of immaturity, underdeveloped responsibility, impetuousness, recklessness and heedless risk-taking.” (Objections at 12, citing Miller, 132 S.Ct. 2455, 2458 (2012).) If the Court were to presume this in Petitioner’s case, it would be doing so in the face of considerable evidence to the contrary. The facts as they emerged in the wake of the confessions demonstrate a methodical, well thought-out plan with considerable attention paid to creating an alibi and disposing of any items which might connect Petitioner and his accomplice to the murders. Rather than exhibiting a reckless and heedless demeanor, Petitioner withstood not only three days of questioning by the Bellevue police but repeated attempts by Haslett to elicit incriminating statements from him; divulging his part in the homicides at what can only be regarded as the strategic moment when he deemed it necessary in order to achieve his ends. If Petitioner chose not to present evidence of his youth and immaturity to the trial court, it may well be because the evidence demonstrated none of the qualities of youthful immaturity which might have provided mitigating circumstances for his decision to confess.

    Indeed, the final nail in the coffin of Petitioner’s “youthful immaturity” argument is the evidence which was seen by the state courts which declined his request to suppress his confession; namely, the videos of his encounters with the undercover officers during which he described his involvement with the murder of the Rafays. It is impossible to view that evidence without being struck by Petitioner’s calm, even jocular demeanor; the casual way in which he describes taking the lives of three human beings and the complete absence of anything that might be described as fear, desperation, intimidation or any quality suggestive of coercion or a forced, involuntary revelation.”

    Towards the end of the federal opinion Judge Pechman writes the following:
    “Petitioner argues in his Objections: “The boys were led to believe that if they were arrested, they would be killed to ensure they did not share with authorities information they had learned about the organization.” (Objections at 22.) The evidence does not support that assertion; in fact, the citations provided by Petitioner in support of this argument (which are simply the testimony of the undercover officers under cross-examination, not any direct quotes from conversations with Petitioner) establish only that Petitioner was given the general impression that Haslett and Shinkaruk were violent men who were not above killing to achieve their ends. Nothing in the record supports a finding that Petitioner was told or believed that getting arrested was the equivalent of a death sentence at Haslett’s hands.

    Such evidence as does exist demonstrates a threat conditioned on the act of betrayal. And Petitioner goes to some lengths to allay any such fears on Haslett’s part. During their conversation on June 28-29, 1995, Petitioner told Haslett “[Y]ou’re not gonna go down, because economically speaking if you go down I’m dead (LAUGHS) so therefore you never go down, that’s your power.” (AR, Ex. 72 at 136-37.)

    Secondly, the evidence does not support the inference that this was the case. Petitioner wants the Court to assume that Petitioner believed the mere possibility that he might betray Haslett (in the event of his arrest) would be the equivalent of a death sentence. Since that possibility (that Petitioner might decide to betray Haslett) existed at every moment during their relationship — regardless of whether Petitioner was in custody — it would be reasonable to expect some evidence from their hours of conversations to indicate that Petitioner lived in constant fear of death at Haslett’s hands. Petitioner has cited none and in fact the evidence reveals the opposite — in all their encounters, Petitioner appears relaxed and at ease in Haslett’s company. Even when he discusses his understanding that Haslett would have him killed if he were to betray him, he does so in a joking manner.”

    People will believe what they want, but I firmly believe that no debate on the guilt or innocence of these 2 individuals can be complete without people being informed and being aware of the rationale used by the reviewing courts to deny relief.

    • I’m leaving all this on here because, to me, it demonstrates how a judge might rule less on the law and more on flawed perception. The question that sits at the center of this case is as follows: “Should the evidence gathered in the Mr. Big sting have been allowed in a US courtroom?” There is no legal basis for the sting in American law, BECAUSE the sting, as it is set up by the RCMP, does not represent a voluntary confession to police with Miranda warnings, but is instead a product of inducement (cash payouts to Burns) and entrapment. Whenever constitutional norms are violated by police, the price paid is injustice.
      But my objection above does not deal with actual innocence. I’d like to quote this judge again, whose ruling is prejudicial. “It is impossible to view that evidence without being struck by Petitioner’s calm, even jocular demeanor; the casual way in which he describes taking the lives of three human beings and the complete absence of anything that might be described as fear, desperation, intimidation or any quality suggestive of coercion or a forced, involuntary revelation.” With respect to the judge herself and to William, such a statement is overreach. Judges are not trained psychologists. Even with the use of MRI brain scans, the success rate on judging truth or lying is 70%. If anyone out there thinks they can “read in” to a person’s behavior by the way they appear on the outside and make such sweeping statements as this judge makes here, they are simply wrong.
      Yes, as William says, “people believe what they want”. I’d say the purpose of the post-conviction system is to sustain convictions and not to arrive at truth. That is why this case will likely be decided by new evidence. Judges know that if convictions are overturned, the ripples spread throughout the system. Many judges are no different than anyone else in that bureaucracy; they hate to rock the boat. They perceive what they want to perceive.

    • The documentary presented a well balanced opinion from both sides not just one. The reason so many “believe what they want” is because there is a very valid and evidentiary support to the innocence of these to men. There is more then enough reasonable doubt establish to pursue a case based on the evidence. And yes I read your post, however, that seems to be a verdict based on the argument of there mental instability, which is a reasonable argument, however the judgement made by the judge seems more of an opinion than a judgement based on cold hard facts.

    • I think it is unfair to burden the public with the task of deciding guilt or innocence, especially the demographic that is likely to watch the Netflix episodes.

      The desire should be to have people think critically and to question what is put in front of them, but it should end there.

      • People will do and say whatever they want. No one has ‘burdened’ them with deciding guilt or innocence. The court of public opinion is still a court. They can take up the burden in whatever way they choose.
        Yes, I do hope they think critically, just as I would have hoped that the jury would have thought more critically, but, in my opinion, they fell asleep.

        • They fell asleep? That seems harsh, providing you likely do not know these people very well. They were using the only resources they had as humans….

  13. Describing my reaction to the True East episodes, disgusted is the understatement of the year. I know we’re all supposed to believe that vengeful thinking is not the answer, but I wish I could see both of those self-absorbed, arrogant imbeciles (the judge and state prosecutor that is), rot in prison, preferably sharing a cell with someone they put there. It is plain to see that the flaws of man are not adequately accounted for in our justice system, especially given that judges are allowed to abuse their powers if they’re in the mood for it.

    I can only hope the popularity of this series continues to rise and influence the cases of Mr. Burns and Mr. Rafay positively.

    • The prosecutor, James Konat, was later forced to resign over the use of “racially charged language” in a separate prosecution. My view of him is that he was a win-at-all-costs unethical individual. God knows how many prosecutors fall into that pattern of behavior.

  14. Appalled, disgusted, and utterly disappointed by this case. I’ll be praying for Atif and Sebastion. I hope that justice finally prevails.

  15. I watched the two-part “True East” episode on Netflix last night and was outraged. As an attorney, I left law school believing in the wonderful American justice system. Decade later, all I believe in is the fallibility, prejudice, ambition, and rush-to-judgment that our system represents. When you have prosecutors who are ELECTED officials, it becomes political. And what do politicians want? They want to win. A prosecutor isn’t reelected or promoted based on carrying out justice – they thrive on CONVICTIONS and as we’ve seen time and time again, it doesn’t much matter WHO is convicted. So not only are there innocents imprisoned, there are the actual guilty parties walking around free. Why do we as a society accept this outcome? Is our thirst for the ‘pound of flesh’ so high that we are OK with peoples lives being ruined??

    I’m glad that films like this (and Making a Murderer) are waking people up. And those who continue to smugly think it can’t happen to them – you should think again.

    • I wish I could say it better than this but I can’t. So let your words speak from inside the “so-called American criminal justice system” (Rubin Carter quote).

  16. The only people who should be in jail are those police officers who fabricated scenarios to coerce a false confession from scared teenagers. Not only did they vilify the teens in the media which put them in the scenario of associating with ‘criminals’. The very fact that the FBI produced a witness who gave in depth evidence which was stronger than anything they had against the young lads and they actively chose to ignore it makes me sick. I would like those officers involved in the USA and Canada to serve half the time in prison these young men have had to.
    I hope they are freed and that everyone involved in the prosecution is ashamed of themselves. The US and Canada should be sued for countless millions by these two for wasting their lives. The US judicial system is a fucking joke run by corrupt officials and manned by egotistical overworked officers who look for the easy suspect and have a level of close mindedness that simply astounds human comprehension. Situations like these get me so mad because the lads were forced by illegal means to admit to a crime they couldn’t possibly have committed to impress the only figure that offered them a chance at a livelihood.

  17. Mr. Ken,

    How can we contribute by writing to the current prosecutor of the State of Washington? Does it matter that I do not reside in that state?


    • Hi Miguel,
      It matters inasmuch as it’s a moral issue. The same way I write to governor’s of particular states to spare a prisoner’s life who might unjustly be facing the death penalty. Or how people write to prime ministers and presidents of various countries asking them to show restraint or to release political prisoners. Good people, and Satterberg is a good person, respond to moral issues. They may not tell you so, but they are affected. So write if you feel like you want to write. Back in the Sixties, the chant was: “The whole world is watching.”

  18. This story is so tragic. We only watched the True East episodes on Netflix and has to switch to something more positive as it made us feel so depressed. Atif and Sebastian deserve a $100 million compensation for this injustice.

    One question – assuming Atif is freed at some point and if Sebastian has exhausted all his apeal options. Is there really nothing that can be done with all the new evidence? Is The President the only one who can pardon him?

    • Exhausting appeals does not mean that a prisoner can’t provide new evidence that will either overturn the trial result or exonerate him or her. In fact, most successful exonerations come from new evidence like DNA or recanting witnesses, or the real perpetrator coming forward. So, no, when the president pardons someone, it’s usually someone properly convicted but who is somehow deserving of mercy. (Present president excepted.)

  19. Just watched the Netflix on Burns and Rafay case and it was chilling. I am currently an intelligence student graduating in Dec. and a combat veteran, so details are very important to me. I have also researched cases similar to these in the past and see almost a pattern of misguided evidence. It shouldn’t be allowed for cases like this to be misinterpreted by the media because it sends out a wrongful message that is challenging to back pedal from. Plus, watching and reading both sides of this case you can almost sense the one sided mind that the detective produces, which in the CJ world creates blinders to truly see the real evidence. If no one looks further into this case, Rafay’s family will never have closure not that should be the key. Great work in presenting the facts and both sides.

    *re-posted for Ken*

  20. With appeals exhausted the only way to get justice is to re-investigate the crime and find the real killer, is the evidence accessible to a private investigator? we could raise some funds to re examine all evidence and explore all other leads…..

    • Brickell,
      The fundraising for both a private investigator and numerous legal fees is happening on I agree that new evidence will be essential.
      When you say appeals are exhausted, that is not entirely true. Sebastian has a final appeal to the Supreme Court of the USA, although the odds are daunting against them even hearing the case.
      Oddly enough, Atif is barely into his first habeas motion (attempt to get federal courts to rule on his case). Because of Sebastian’s condition, brought on in large part by solitary and ‘drug therapy’, he was incapable of going through the many stages of appeal that Atif has followed. It means that they are out of step in the process. Technically, Atif could win his appeal and Sebastian not. In actuality, this result is unlikely. Which gets us back to your entry. Therefore, we do need a private investigator.

  21. I just got done watching True East. That was one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever watched! Literally made me sick to my stomach to hear the way those sick and twisted detectives, defense attorney and worthless judge talk about those 2 boys! There the ones who should be locked up! Its corrupt and lazy officials like them that make most people hate the justice system! I’m so angry right now!

  22. What are real chances to find the justice in this case? It seems you are working on grouping some substantial evidences, but do you really think, that they will be enough? What’s also current status of appeal of Mr Atif? Did you bring those new evidence into it?

    What are real chances to do anything more in this case?
    Thank you for your answer.

    • Hi Amadeusz,
      Justice and truth: those two goals are higher than the law. The law in this case is not about either right now; it’s about protecting the conviction and winning. During the trial, it was about winning at all costs. (That’s the way I see it.) There’s always a chance that justice and truth will prevail if enough of us work in that direction.
      As to evidence, new evidence is always the key in such cases. It is difficult to overturn a court verdict because the system, including appeal judges, works toward the same goal: protect the conviction. The appeals process can be deadly.
      Atif is in the process of seeking habeas relief from the federal courts. It used to be an easier path but huge restrictions on habeas rights have been put into place since Bill Clinton was president. Clinton is a bright man but his work on justice issues was questionable, even wrongheaded.
      “Real chances”. Getting someone out of prison takes more than one miracle. But miracles can only occur if the truth has yet to be told. True justice in a case like this is a miracle. Miracles happen.

  23. Hi Ken,

    Firstly, well done in working so hard for Atif and Seb! I am a teacher myself and you have helped solidify my decision to work on behalf of those institutionalized, in my case, as an academic volunteer to incarcerated students.

    Secondly, this case infuriates me for a myriad of reasons, most of which comes from Judge Mertel directly during the sentencing, specifically when he spoke to Sebastian; ”You were convicted based on your own chilling, casual confession.” The fact that this false confession was even admissible in a U.S. court in the first place speaks volumes as to how heavily this case was stacked against Atif and Sebastian. Clearly had the confession not been acquired at all or deemed admissible, they would not have been convicted. If other Mr. Big cases have been thrown out, surely this one stands a chance as well.

    Lastly, I find it telling that sunset occurred at 9:04 p.m. in Bellevue that evening and the murder occurred around 9:30 p.m. Mrs. Rafay, found in the prayer position, most likely would have began the Maghrib prayer shortly after sunset began, and since it lasts approximately 15 minutes this timeline makes sense. If the boys really had planned to sneak out of the movie to commit this attack, it would have made more sense logistically for them to see a later movie and return to the house when everyone was asleep. The fact that this attack occurred at such an odd time – 9:30 p.m., when neighbors are still awake, can clearly recall the type of sound they heard, the time they heard it, and could have even witnessed the murderers fleeing- further illustrates their innocence. It makes more sense that this was religiously-motivated due to the specific time that it took place.

    Again, I applaud your efforts. I intend on sending a letter to Dan Satterfield; regardless of whatever King County says on the record, history has shown time and time again there is power in numbers. Whilst I am sickened by their plight, my faith in humanity is restored by the efforts of you and others working hard on behalf of the falsely imprisoned. Well done!

    • First, thank you, Daniellle. Your praise is appreciated. These wrongful conviction cases are sometimes like Rashomon or the blind men and the elephant. Much depends on which way you come at them. Once the system has a jury verdict, it does everything in its power to sustain them. The appeals system is essentially a hoax because it does not represent sober second judgment. That is why Satterberg’s response to Netflix was so disingenuous. He’s just playing the game where he has most of the good cards. But we come at it the other way. Does the law trump the. Truth or the truth trump the law? So far, in. This instance, it’s the first option.
      Your analysis of the case may well be the correct one and I think time will tell. Then again, there is always so much we do not know because there are too many variables. So the whole truth, to which the law pretends, is never a full possibility. But the falsehoods here are overwhelming and the suffering is commensurate.
      As to Mr. Big, the very fact that the US courts have upheld this blatant violation of their constitution tells us all we need to know. Everlasting shame on the RCMP.

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