Paula Lobo/ABC(NEW YORK) — The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, announced Tuesday that a closed court hearing reaffirmed the court’s January decision that Amanda Knox’s defense rights had been violated in 2007 during police questioning about the murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher.
The court had ruled this January that Italy had to pay approximately $20,000 in damages and legal costs to Knox for failing to provide her with a lawyer or proper translator during hours of police questioning on Nov. 6, 2007, during the initial stages of the investigation into Kercher’s murder in Perugia, Italy.
In rejecting the request, the court made the ruling final, and the Italian state will have to pay Knox damages. The judgment will be transmitted to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which supervises the enforcement of European Court judgments. This should end Knox’s legal proceedings in Italy.
Knox was a 20-year-old college student studying abroad in Italy when she and Raffale Sollecito, her boyfriend at the time, were accused of murdering Kercher in November 2007. They spent close to four years in an Italian jail while the court proceedings unfolded.
Knox, along with Sollecito, were definitively acquitted of Kercher’s murder in 2015 after a long judicial ordeal, which involved two appeal court trials and two Italian Supreme Court decisions.
Rudy Guede, a young man from the Ivory Coast who had grown up in Perugia, was convicted of Kercher’s murder in a separate trial in 2008 and is serving a 16-year sentence.
Knox left Italy in 2011 immediately after her first acquittal and had not returned to the country until earlier this month, when she took part in a conference on wrongful convictions and spoke on a panel about the media’s role in criminal trials.
Knox’s lawyers had originally presented her case to the EU court in Strasbourg in 2013 to request damages from the state of Italy for her treatment during her questioning at the start of her legal proceedings when she was quickly put under investigation – along with Sollecito – for Kercher’s murder.
Tuesday’s court press release states: “The Court took the view that the Italian Government had not succeeded in showing that the restriction of Ms Knox’s access to a lawyer, at the police interview of 6 November 2007 at 5.45 a.m. – when there was a criminal charge against her – had not irreparably undermined the fairness of the proceedings as a whole.”
While ruling that her defense rights were violated, the court also ruled that “it did not have any evidence to show that Ms Knox had been subjected to the inhuman or degrading treatment of which she had complained [about]”.
Lawyer Carlo della Vedova told ABC News Knox was informed of the EU court’s decision Tuesday via email, to which she replied, “Amazing. Thank you Carlo.”
Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.