Amanda Knox faces trial for 'slandering' Kercher police

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Image caption,
Knox was jailed for 26 years for her part in Meredith Kercher's murder

American student Amanda Knox is to face trial for slander after saying Italian police beat her during questioning over the murder of Briton Meredith Kercher.

A judge made the decision at a closed indictment hearing in Perugia, Italy.

Knox, 23, told the judge she had never intended slander and was just trying to defend herself, her lawyer said.

She is serving 26 years for the murder of the Leeds University student, 21, her housemate from Coulsdon, south London, in Perugia in 2007.

Knox's former boyfriend, Italian Raffaele Sollecito, is serving 25 years for holding down Miss Kercher while Knox stabbed her to death.

Their trial heard they had cornered their victim after starting a sex game with drug dealer Rudy Guede, 22, who was also jailed for 30 years for the killing, although that was cut to 16 years on appeal.

Afterwards they tried to make the death look like part of a failed burglary, breaking the window in Miss Kercher's room to look like forced entry. But police realised it had been done from the inside.

Appeal hearing

The BBC's Duncan Kennedy, in Rome, said Knox claimed the officers beat her about the head during questioning - something the police always denied - and that the slander trial would start next May.

Image caption,
Meredith Kercher was spending a year studying in Italy when she was killed

If that results in a conviction, any additional jail term would be added to her current sentence.

Separately, Amanda Knox's appeal against her murder conviction is due to begin in the coming weeks. The BBC understands that she will be calling new witnesses to try to prove her innocence.

"She has said all along she was nowhere near the house on the night Meredith Kercher died," said Duncan Kennedy.

Knox, from Seattle, has previously been ordered to pay 40,000 euros (£34,566) compensation to local barman Patrick Lumumba for falsely accusing him of the murder.

Miss Kercher was spending a year abroad in the Umbrian hilltop town when she was killed.

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