Amanda Knox is going back to Italy for the first time since her murder conviction was overturned
(CNN) – Amanda Knox once told reporters she would never “willingly” go back to Italy, after a retrial in 2014 saw her convicted for a second time of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher.
However, the American former exchange student has announced her plans to return to the country in order to speak at a criminal justice conference, after Italy’s Supreme Court overturned her conviction in 2015.
Knox will speak at the Criminal Justice Festival in Modena, in northern Italy, which is being organized by the Italy Innocence Project and the Camera Penale di Modena, an association of lawyers. The festival will run from June 13 to 15.
“The Italy Innocence Project didn’t yet exist when I was wrongly convicted in Perugia,” Knox wrote on Twitter. “I’m honored to accept their invitation to speak to the Italian people at this historic event and return to Italy for the first time.”
Guido Sola, one of the festival’s organizers, 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 will take part in a panel titled “Trial by Media,” alongside Martina Cagossi, program 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 through the Innocence Network. “Amanda always said that she wanted to return to Italy. And now the moment has come,” Cagossi said.
In 2007, Knox was arrested alongside her then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, after the murder of her housemate, Meredith Kercher. The body of Kercher, 21, was found in the apartment she shared with Knox in Perugia, Italy. Kercher’s throat had been slashed.
Another man, Rudy Guede, was arrested and convicted separately of Kercher’s murder; he is currently serving a 16-year prison sentence. Prosecutors continued to insist on Knox and Sollecito’s involvement, however, accusing Knox of delivering the fatal blow.
Both Knox and Sollecito were found guilty in 2009 despite maintaining their innocence, and sentenced to 26 and 25 years in prison, respectively. Knox was additionally convicted of making a malicious accusation, after she blamed her boss, Patrick Lumumba, for Kercher’s murder while under questioning. Lumumba was later found to be innocent, after spending two weeks in prison.
Knox and Sollecito were freed in 2011 when an appeals court quashed their convictions, citing a lack of evidence, and Knox returned to Seattle. However, a retrial saw their convictions restored in 2014; Knox was sentenced in absentia to 28½ years, while Sollecito received a 25-year sentence.
Italy’s highest appeals court, the Court of Cassation, finally exonerated Knox and Sollecito in 2015, though Knox’s malicious accusation conviction was not overturned.
She was granted permission to take her case to the European Court of Human Rights, in an effort to see her final conviction quashed. Earlier this year, the court ordered Italy to pay her €18,400 (about $20,600) for failing to provide her with a lawyer and an appropriate interpreter when she was first detained.