Italian MPs: Amanda Knox treated unfairly
Some Italian MPs are seeking a probe into the prosecutors' office in Perugia, which brought the charges which led to American student Amanda Knox being convicted of murdering her British room-mate Meredith Kercher.
Miss Kercher, 21, from Coulsdon, Surrey, a Leeds University student, was found with her throat cut. She was in Perugia as part of her degree course and had only been in Italy for two months when she was murdered in November 2007.
Knox was found guilty of murder in 2009 and jailed for 26 years. The group of MPs claim she has been treated unfairly.
The request to the Italian justice minister was spearheaded by MP Rocco Girlanda, who has frequently visited Knox in prison and has written a positive book about her. He also sent a letter to the Italian president seeking his intervention.
Both the petition and the letter cast doubt on the prosecution's case, alleging that an appeals trial currently under way has undermined the reliability of evidence originally collected against the former student. They also maintain that Knox, 23, should not have been kept behind bars since her arrest.
"These distortions, not without reason, are fuelling accusations against the administration of justice in our country," Mr Girlanda said in the letter to the president.
The petition to Justice Minister Angelino Alfano was signed by 11 MPs, all members of Premier Silvio Berlusconi's coalition. It asks Mr Alfano to consider sending inspectors to judicial offices in Perugia - a move that is considered very serious in Italy and is typically read as a sign of discontent from Rome.
Knox's boyfriend Italian Raffaele Sollecito was convicted of sexual assault and murder in 2009. Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison and Sollecito to 25 years.The two have always denied wrongdoing.
"Who will compensate two 20 year olds - in the hoped-for case that the appellate trial recognises their innocence - of the four years of life and freedom that they have been unjustly deprived of, and which no economic compensation could ever reimburse?" said Mr Girlanda. "The so-called evidence and testimonies of the prosecution have proved to be at best considered contradictory and unreliable."
Mr Girlanda is an ally of Mr Berlusconi, who has vehemently attacked Italian magistrates and is seeking to reform the system to limit their powers. He also heads a foundation which seeks to promote ties between Italy and the United States,