Knox indicted in Italy sex murder case: lawyer

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Amanda Knox, the American convicted of the sex-murder of a British student in Italy, was indicted Monday on charges of slander for claiming police beat her during questioning, her lawyer said.

The 23-year-old's trial on the charges of slandering seven police officers and an interpreter is due to start on May 17 next year, Luciano Ghirga said.

Knox was sentenced in December 2009 to 26 years in prison for the murder of Meredith Kercher in a drug-fuelled sex game that turned violent.

Kercher was found on November 2, 2007, semi-nude in a pool of blood with stab wounds to the neck in her room in the cottage she shared with Knox.

During the trial the Seattle native accused police of beating and intimidating her during questioning after the gruesome murder.

Knox said her false statements -- notably, that her part-time employer Patrick Lumumba was the killer -- were the result of "suggestions" during aggressive police questioning by interrogators who called her a "stupid liar."

She said a policewoman had twice hit her on the back of the head during questioning, a charge which Italian police have strongly denied.

Knox said she was under duress when she originally stated she was at home at the time of the murder and could hear Kercher's screams.

Instead, Knox said, she spent the night of November 1, 2007, with her then boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito at his flat, where they smoked marijuana, had sex and watched a film.

Sollecito and a man from Ivory Coast, Rudy Guede, were also convicted of the murder.

Knox has repeatedly protested her innocence, and her trial on appeal for the murder is set to start on November 24.

The case continues to garner widespread media attention in Italy and abroad.

Knox has spoken in detail of her imprisonment in a book by Italian lawmaker Rocco Girlanda, president of the Italy-USA Foundation, who has taken a personal interest in the case and has visited Knox in prison.

Knox is quoted in the book as saying that she longs to live a normal life and hopes to one day become a mother and start a writing career.

The case is also serving as the basis for two films.

Robert Dornhelm's "The Amanda Knox Story," starring US actress Hayden Panettiere as Knox, will screen on television in the United States early next year.

Colin Firth has also been asked to star as a journalist investigating the murder in Italy in a planned British feature film directed by Michael Winterbottom.

© 2010 AFP

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