Amanda Knox has returned to Italy, the country in which she spent years wrongly imprisoned, for the first time since her acquittal.
Knox, now 31, arrived at Milan’s Linate airport Thursday and was accompanied by her mother and fiancé Christopher Robinson the Associated Press reports. Plainclothes officers escorted her through the building and she did not stop for questions.
She is scheduled to speak at the Criminal Justice Festival in Modena on Saturday for a session called “Trial by Media,” according to CNN. The Italy Innocence Project, the non-profit organization hosting the event, invited Knox and she happily accepted, she explained in a tweet last month.
“The Italy Innocence Project didn't yet exist when I was wrongly convicted in Perugia. 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,” she wrote.
In a recent tweet, Knox explained that she chose not to do any interviews leading up to her trip, in the hopes that her talk on the subject of wrongful convictions and media sensationalism will “speak for itself.”
It’s a subject that Knox should know plenty about, having been thrust into the international spotlight following the murder of her roommate, British student Meredith Kercher, in 2007. Knox, then an exchange student studying in Perugia, was accused of the crime, as was her then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito. The years that followed were undoubtedly tumultuous for Knox; she and Sollecito were acquitted and then convicted again before the highest court in the country acquitted them both, for the final time, in 2015.
A third person, Rudy Guede, was ultimately convicted of killing Kercher and is currently serving out a 16-year sentence for the crime.
Knox, who by then had spent four years behind bars, returned to her native Seattle, Washington following her acquittal, became a journalist, and kept a largely low profile. Ahead of her return to Italy, however, Knox published an essay in Medium reflecting on what it was like to be thrown unwillingly into the public eye.
“Thrust into the spotlight against my will in 2007, the year of the iPhone and the takeoff of Twitter and Facebook, the most intimate details of my life — from my sexual history to my thoughts of death and suicide in prison — were taken from my private diary and leaked to the media,” she wrote. “They became fodder for hundreds of articles, thousands of posts, and millions of hot takes.”
She also wrote in an Instagram post before her trip that she was feeling “frayed” ahead of her big return.
“Three days until I return to Italy for the first time since leaving prison,” she wrote alongside a photo of herself hanging from a cliff. “Feeling frayed, so I made my own inspirational workplace poster. ‘Hang in there!’ Just imagine I'm a kitten.”
Some consider her return to Italy a controversial decision. Francesco Maresca, lawyer for the Kercher family, told the Telegraph last month that her return is "inappropriate and uncalled for."
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