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Amanda Knox to defend herself in Italian court against defamation charge against 16-year-old

MILAN (AP) — Amanda Knox will return to an Italian courtroom this week to defend herself against a 16-year-old slander conviction she hopes to defeat once and for all.

Her chance came when a European court ruled that Italy had violated her human rights during a long night of interrogation after the murder of her British roommate in November 2007.

The slander conviction for accusing a Congolese bar owner in the murder is the only charge against Knox that withstood five court rulings that ultimately cleared her of the brutal murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher, 21, in the apartment they shared. idyllic university town in central Italy, Perugia.

The verdict in the defamation case ordered by Italy’s top court is expected on Wednesday, with Knox appearing in an Italian court for the first time in more than 12 and a half years.

The defamation charge was based largely on two statements typed by police and signed by Knox in the early hours of November 6, 2007, during extensive questioning in Italian by police, without a lawyer or competent translator. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that these conditions violated his human rights.

Kercher’s brutal murder attracted worldwide attention as suspicion fell on Knox, then 20, and her Italian boyfriend at the time, Raffaele Sollecito, with whom she had been involved for barely a year. week.

Knox and Sollecito were found guilty at their first trial, but after a series of flip-flopping verdicts, they were ultimately exonerated by Italy’s highest court in 2015. Knox returned to the United States in October 2011, after her first acquittal. She is now a mother of two young children and shares a podcast with her husband while campaigning against wrongful convictions.

However, the slander conviction against Knox endured, a legal stain that continued to fuel doubts about his role in the murder, particularly in Italy – and despite the conviction of Rudy Hermann Guede, an Ivorian whose DNA was found at the crime scene. .

Guede served 13 years of a 16-year prison sentence handed down following a fast-track trial that provides for lighter sentences under Italian law.

Based on the European Court’s ruling, Italy’s highest court threw out Knox’s defamation conviction last November and ruled that the two statements seized by police were inadmissible. He ordered a new trial, asking the Florence court to consider only a handwritten statement that Knox wrote in English hours later.

“Regarding this ‘confession’ that I made last night, I would like to clarify that I very much doubt the veracity of my statements, because they were made under the pressure of stress, shock and exhaustion extreme,” his statement read.

Sal Kassin, a pioneer in the study of false confessions, claims that Knox’s signed statements follow a pattern of false confessions.

“It is an empirical fact that most false confessions contain precise details not yet known to the public and ‘falsely fueled facts’ which are consistent with the police theory of the crime, but which later prove to be false.” , said Kassin, a psychologist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York who wrote about the case in his book “Duped,” which examines the phenomenon of false confessions.

Kassin said police “contaminated” Knox’s confession, which fit the police theory of the time.

“Holding her responsible for a statement she was also involved in is absurd,” he wrote.

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