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Knox Freed After Italian Court Clears Her Of Murder

Amanda Knox was accused of taking part in the killing of British student Meredith Kercher in 2007.

Amanda Knox has been freed from prison in Italy, after an appeals court cleared the 24-year-old American and her Italian former boyfriend of the 2007 murder and sexual assault of British student Meredith Kercher.

Knox, from the city of Seattle, and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were acquitted October 3 in the court in Perugia in central Italy.

The pair had appealed against a 2009 verdict that had found them guilty of stabbing the 21-year-old Kercher to death during what prosecutors said was a drug-fueled sexual assault.

Knox and Sollecito had always denied committing the crime, in a case that has captivated news audiences in Europe and the United States.

"We are thankful for the support we have received from all over the world -- people who took the time to research the case and could see that Amanda and Raffaele were innocent,” Knox's sister Deanna Knox told reporters outside the court after the acquittal.

“We are thankful to the court for having the courage to look for the truth and to overturn this conviction. We now respectfully ask you to give Amanda and the rest of our family our privacy that we need to recover from this horrible ordeal."

The acquittal came after the court heard from independent forensic investigators who criticized the police's handling of scientific evidence in the original investigation that led to the conviction of Knox and Sollecito.

Rudy Guede, from the Ivory Coast, is currently serving a 16-year prison sentence in Italy after being convicted of Kercher's murder in a separate trial.

compiled from agency reports