Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Failure to Protect Amanda Knox’ Rights Decried in Letter to President Obama


Seattle, WA, USA – June 8, 2011

The Friends of Amanda Knox have written to President Barack Obama expressing their concern about the failure of consular officials to protect the rights of American citizen, Amanda Knox, convicted in Perugia, Italy, of murdering her British roommate and sentenced to 26 years in prison.

The letter sent to Obama on May 16, 2011 indicates seven areas in which Italian or EU law was violated by prosecutors and police in Perugia, Italy. Yet, the letter cites repeated assertions by State Department spokespersons that it was their obligation to safeguard those same rights. It was sent by Michael Heavey, a superior court judge acting in a personal capacity only, and cosigned by Thomas Wright, founder of Friends of Amanda, Dr. Mark C. Waterbury, author of The Monster of Perugia – The Framing of Amanda Knox, and attorney Anne Bremner, spokesperson of Friends of Amanda. A pdf file of the letter can be downloaded herehttp://www.injusticeinperugia.org/ConsularFailureKnox.pdf.

The letter calls for an investigation of the failure of the U.S. Consulate offices in Italy to take actions in support of Amanda Knox. That letter was copied to, and followed up with, a second letter dated May 20, 2011 and sent to more than 500 members of congress, and to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

This action comes only a few weeks after a letter written by the Committee to Protect Journalists to the President of Italy protesting actions of the same Perugian prosecutor regarding the treatment of reporters covering the case. The CPJ article and a link to the letter can be found at http://www.cpj.org/2011/05/italian-prosecutor-files-defamation-lawsuit-shutte.php. The CPJ investigation revealed that Perugian prosecutors and police used threats, criminal charges, and physical beatings to intimidate reporters covering the case. The prosecutor in the case recently obtained a court order forcing Google to take down a blog written by a critical local journalist.

Similar concerns were subsequently expressed by eleven prominent Italian lawmakers who signed a petition to the Italian Minster of Justice reaffirming that Knox was treated unfairly under Italian law (see AP article at http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=13691934). The group sent a letter to the President of Italy asking for his intervention. They have taken the extremely serious step of asking for the Italian Ministry of Justice to send inspectors to Perugia to investigate.

The letter to President Obama touches on many of the same points that have been raised by legal and forensic experts, former FBI agent Steve Moore, and others who have looked at the way the trial was conducted and been deeply disturbed at what they found. Prominent criminologist Paul Ciolino, who investigated the case for CBS news, called the conviction of Amanda Knox “the railroad job from hell.”

These voices, both in Italy the United States, and elsewhere form a mounting chorus of concern that Amanda Knox's human rights and rights under Italian law have been violated by a justice system in Perugia, Italy that is out of control. Why hasn't the State Department taken action to safeguard the rights of this innocent American citizen?   

CONTACTS:
Michael Heavey – sen34@comcast.net
Thomas Wright – tomonmercer@yahoo.com
Anne Bremner – abremner@staffordfrey.com
Mark Waterbury – waterbury.mark@gmail.com

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