Knox ‘frightened’ by murder ruling

Posted by Warren Fyfe on January 31, 2014 in Warren Fyfe Site

Amanda Knox

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Speaking before the verdicts emerged, Knox said she was “a marked person”

US student Amanda Knox says she is “frightened and saddened” after a court in Italy reinstated her guilty verdict for the 2007 murder of her British flatmate Meredith Kercher.

She said the “unjust” verdict resulted from a “narrow-minded investigation”.

Knox, who is currently in the US, was sentenced to 28 years and six months by the court in Florence.

Her Italian ex-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, also had his guilty verdict reinstated and received 25 years.

Lawyers for both have said they will appeal.

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At the scene

This re-running of the appeal process was ordered by Italy’s highest court.

In the ruling, its judges had demolished the grounds for Knox and Sollecito’s acquittals.

And so there was a sense that the momentum was with the prosecution as this latest appeal began.

Now that it has secured a conviction, an eventual attempt to extradite Knox is a possibility.

But her legal team would fight it with everything it had.

Most people in Italy would find it very difficult indeed to imagine the US authorities one day putting Amanda Knox on a plane and sending her back here to spend much of the rest of her life in jail.

Sollecito was “struck dumb” after hearing the verdict on TV, his lawyer said.

Luca Maori said the 29-year-old looked “annihilated” by the sentence, adding: “There isn’t a shred of proof.”

Miss Kercher, 21, from Coulsdon in south London, was stabbed to death in the flat she shared with Knox in the college city of Perugia.

Knox and Sollecito were jailed for her murder in 2009 but the verdicts were overturned in 2011 and the pair were freed.

However, the acquittals were themselves overturned last year by Italy’s supreme court.

Legal experts say it is unlikely Italy will request Knox’s extradition before the verdict is final.

In Italy, verdicts are not considered final until they are confirmed, usually by the supreme Court of Cassation.

In a statement issued after the verdict, Knox, 26, said: “I am frightened and saddened by this unjust verdict.

“Having been found innocent before, I expected better from the Italian justice system.”

She added: “There has always been a marked lack of evidence. My family and I have suffered greatly from this wrongful persecution. This has gotten out of hand.”

Meredith Kercher (undated file photo)Meredith Kercher was found dead in her room

Amanda Knox with face covered leaves home in Seattle with familyAmanda Knox, her face covered, left her parents’ home in Seattle after the verdict

Raffaele Sollecito, 30 January 2014Raffaele Sollecito was in court earlier on Thursday but left before the verdicts

Knox, who is currently studying for a degree in creative writing at the University of Washington, followed the court proceedings from her hometown of Seattle.

After 12 hours of deliberation, the verdicts were delivered by presiding judge Alessando Nencini, who ordered that Sollecito’s passport should be revoked.

Sollecito had been in court earlier on Thursday but left before the verdicts were delivered.

The judge made no requests for limits on Knox’s movements.

Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito (file images)

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The verdict is the third in the case – and may yet be appealed

He ordered that the pair should pay damages to the family of Miss Kercher, whose brother Lyle and sister Stephanie were in court.

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Will US extradite Amanda Knox?

Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at American University in Washington DC, says that whether or not Knox is extradited to Italy is a question of the request’s legal basis and America’s political interest in the case.

Once Italy makes a request, the US will have to decide whether it falls under their extradition treaty.

While there is “no reason to think the US has a specific interest” in blocking her extradition, Mr Vladeck says, countries can effectively stand in the way with a variety of “creative” interpretations of extradition treaties.

If the US does grant Italy’s request, Knox can fight her extradition in a US court, citing among other things international human rights law.

Speaking soon after, Lyle Kercher said: “It’s hard to feel anything at the moment because we know it will go to a further appeal. No matter what the verdict was, it never was going to be a case of celebrating anything.”

Their lawyer, Francesco Maresca, called the verdict “justice for Meredith and the family”.

US Senator Maria Cantwell, from Knox’s home state of Washington, said she was “very concerned and disappointed” by the verdict and confident that the appeal would re-examine the decision.

“It is very troubling that Amanda and her family have had to endure this process for so many years,” she said in a statement.

Rudy Guede from the Ivory Coast has already been convicted of Miss Kercher’s murder at an earlier trial, and sentenced to 16 years in prison. That verdict specified that he did not commit the crime alone.

Prosecutors sought to prove Miss Kercher had died in a sex game involving Knox and Sollecito that went wrong.

They have since alleged that the murder resulted from a heated argument over cleanliness in the Perugia apartment.

Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-25974614#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

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