Why Amanda Knox is returning to Italy
The American is planning first visit back to country where she was tried for the murder of former flatmate Meredith Kercher
Amanda Knox has announced that she is to return to Italy next month for the first time since the country’s Supreme Court overturned her conviction for the murder of her former flatmate.
Knox was twice found guilty and twice acquitted of killing British exchange student Meredith Kercher, who was found dead in the flat they shared in the northern Italian city of Perugia in November 2007. The American will speak about her subsequent ordeal at the Criminal Justice Festival, which is taking place in Modena from 13 to 15 June and has been arranged by the Italy Innocence Project and the Camera Penale di Modena, an association of lawyers.
Guido Sola, one of the festival’s organisers, told CNN: “Amanda Knox is the icon of trials that the media carry out before the trial in court is conducted.
“Amanda has been definitively acquitted in court, but in the popular imagination she is still guilty, because she has been the victim of a barbaric media trial.”
Knox wrote on Twitter that she was “honored to accept their invitation to speak to the Italian people at this historic event”.
The trip is “one Knox apparently has been dreaming about for years as part of her own healing process”, says The Daily Beast’s Barbie Latza Nadeau.
But “her presence on this side of the Atlantic will be something akin to ripping off a scab for Kercher’s family, who have not yet been able to bring themselves to visit the country where this tragedy began”, the Rome-based journalist adds.
One of Kercher’s family members told Latza Nadeau: “One has to wonder why she is doing this, why we have to go through all this again. You don’t get used to the notion that your daughter’s killer has become a superstar any more than you get used to the fact that your daughter was murdered in the first place.”
Knox will take part in a panel titled Trial by Media, alongside Martina Cagossi, programme manager of the Italy Innocence Project, Andrea Mascherin, president of Italy’s bar association, and Vinicio Nardo, president of Milan’s bar association.
Cagossi told CNN that she personally invited Knox after meeting her in Atlanta. “Amanda always said that she wanted to return to Italy. And now the moment has come,” Cagossi said.
Kercher’s death and the subsequent investigations and court cases made headlines around the world, with US student Knox and her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, initially found guilty of stabbing the 21-year-old Briton to death.
They were acquitted and released from prison in 2011, before the guilty verdicts were reinstated in 2014. Following a lengthy appeal, the eight-year legal saga came to an end in 2015 when Italy’s highest court, the Court of Cassation, overturned the convictions.
That court later denounced “major flaws” in the police’s handling of the investigation, as well as the absence of a “body of evidence” allowing for a safe conviction or any admissible DNA evidence linking the pair to the murder.
The only person convicted of the crime is Ivory Coast national Rudy Guede, who is serving a 16-year sentence for the murder, although judges ruled that he did not act alone.