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Amanda: Convicted....for now PDF Print E-mail
Dec 13, 2009 at 05:32 PM
Rudy, Amanda, Raffaele
Many Italians were taken aback last week by the reports of outrage in some parts of the U.S. regarding the 26-year sentence imposed Friday, December 4th on 22-year old Amanda Knox after she (together with a former boyfriend) was convicted by a Perugia court of murdering Knox's British roommate, Meredith Kercher, two years earlier in what was said to have been a sex game gone wrong. A third person, Rudy Guede,born in the Ivory Coast but later adopted by an Italian family, had been convicted several weeks earlier for the same crime and sentenced to 30 years in jail.

And Italian newspapers have only made things worse by giving exaggerated play to some relatively mild comments over the weekend by American Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. Although Ms. Clinton merely said after admitting she knew little about the case (and why should she, given that she has been spending most of her time on more urgent issues such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Middle East?), but would be willing to listen to anyone who had serous doubts about the way the young American woman had been treated, even the usually serious Corriere della Sera ran a banner headline today saying "Amanda, Clinton to intervene", an obvious overstatement that led to talk about a diplomatic incident until Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini intervened to say there had been no U.Si complaints at all. And then Amanda, herself, interviewed from jail, said she had no complaints about the conduct of Italian justice but since she maintains her innocence was, of course, filing an appeal. And who knows what will happen then?

Anyone who reads this blog will have noticed that I have barely written about it, primarily because I have never been particularly interested in following it closely simply because one of the major defendant was an American. Murder is murder no matter who commits it. And if it is true that Italian crime scene police work often appears to be quite sloppy, and that the wheels of the Italian justice system mover very SLOWLY and definitely need to be oiled, I cannot not think of any reason why Amanda Knox should have been particularly victimized by Italian authorities. She got a lot of bad press after her arrest, in part because of the pictures released of her which made her seem kind of wild, silly and possibly over-sexed and even more so because she tried to blame the murder on an African "barista" who two weeks later was totally exonerated.

But if Amanda was convicted on evidence that was largely circumstantial, what else is new? O.J. got off although most of us think he shouldn't have. Others can be unjustly convicted. It's had to tell. Just the other day, an Italian prosecutor in Pavia in the Italian north said he would ask for 30 years of jail time for Alberto Stasi, a 26 year old student (now graduated form University) accused of murdering his fiancée Chiara Poggi in the latter's home town of Garlasco in the summer of 2007. There, too, the evidence is largely circumstantial and it is impossible to know have a real opinion as to his guilt or innocence.


Recently speaking out in Amanda's favour, and his own, was Raffaele Sollecito, the former boyfriend who many people believe was besotted with the young American student, so much so that he let her drag him into a deadly situation. He says he had nothing to do with Meredith Kercher's death (he throat was cut) and was not in the house when it happened. But he also can't believe that Amanda was involved. "E' dolcissima". ("She's incredibly sweet"), he said.


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