Entries in Released (4)


Amanda Knox Acquitted of Murder, to Be Released from Prison

Amanda Knox sobs with relief as she is removed from the courtroom after her acquittal. ABC News(PERUGIA, Italy) -- A jubilant Amanda Knox was cleared of murder charges Monday by an Italian appeals court, ending her four-year prison ordeal and clearing the way for the American student to return home to Seattle.

The tension of the moment was so acute and full of dread for Knox that she looked pale and physically ill when she was brought into the courtroom for the verdict. When the judge cracked the tension by announcing that she was acquitted, Knox nearly collapsed. She was rushed out of the courtroom, barely able to walk, stumbling while being hauled along by court officers.

The former exchange student was crying and doubled over, her head occasionally coming up for big breaths of air.

Left behind in the courtroom was the family of Meredith Kercher, Knox's British roommate who she was accused of killing. Kercher's mother, Arline Kercher, sat stoically long after the elated Knox family hugged each other fiercely and streamed out into the street.

In the street, the family was greeted with cheers and boos, with some shouting "disgrace."

Knox and her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted in December 2009 of killing Kercher in a 2007 attack that left the British exchange student partially nude and bleeding to death from a slashed throat.

Sollecito's conviction was also overturned.

Knox, 24, and Sollecito, 27, have spent the last four years in an Italian prison and faced the prospect of a life sentence depending on the appeals court ruling.

The court's six jurors and two judges deliberated for hours after listening in the morning to impassioned pleas by Knox and Sollecito to throw out the guilty verdict and set them free.

Knox struggled through tears and, at times, a shaking voice, as she addressed the court in Italian.

"I want to go home. I want to go back to my life. I don't want to be punished... I don't want my future taken away from me for something I didn't do because I am innocent," she said.

"I didn't do what they say I did. I didn't kill. I didn't rape. I didn't steal. I was not there," Knox insisted.

In encouraging the six jurors and two judges to set her free, Knox said, "I am not escaping truth. I am not fleeing from justice. I insist on the truth."

Lawyers for the prosecution called Knox a sex obsessed "she devil" and a liar. Twice they showed the court grisly photos of Kercher's nude and bloodied body, along with close-ups of the gash in her neck.

Knox's defense countered, saying that she wasn't a "she devil," but was more like Jessica Rabbit, the voluptuous cartoon character who was tender and loving. "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way," was her trademark line.

Knox's lawyers told the court she had been "crucified" by the media during the investigation and trial, a reference to the often lurid coverage of the case in tabloid papers, as well as seven books and a movie.

Forensics may have played a bigger role than rhetoric in the court's verdict. Much of the appeal revolved around whether the DNA on two key pieces of evidence were credible.

Two court appointed experts looked at the prosecution's evidence and delivered a damning assessment that the manner in which the DNA was collected, stored and analyzed was below international standards.

The prosecution defended their evidence and dismissed the experts' conclusion as the shoddy work of people with little experience in genuine investigations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Pakistan Allows Osama Bin Laden Bodyguard to Go Free

AFP/Getty Images(ISLAMABAD) -- Pakistan has freed a former bodyguard of slain al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

An Afghan Islamic Press report says the release of Dr. Amin al Haq occurred several weeks ago because Pakistani security officials were supposedly unable to prove that Haq was linked to al Qaeda even though he was a known senior commander of the terrorist group.

The report said Haq was also freed because he was in poor health.

Described as the security coordinator of bin Laden's Black Guard, Haq was initially detained by Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency three years ago before he was turned over to police in Peshawar.  A court then released Haq, claiming that he had been improperly arrested.

This latest development certainly won't help to mend deteriorating relations between Washington and Islamabad.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


American Hikers Shane Bauer, Josh Fattal Released from Iranian Prison

ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images(TEHRAN, Iran) -- After being held in Iran for more than two years on espionage charges, American hikers Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal were finally released from jail on Wednesday.

The two will now be handed over to the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, which handles American interests in Iran since the U.S. doesn't have an embassy there, before they are flown back to the U.S.

Earlier Wednesday, Bauer and Fattal's attorney, Masoud Shafii, got the second judge's signature -- needed on their release order -- paving the way for their combined $1 million bail to be processed.

The hikers' release marks a public relations victory for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is in New York for the U.N. General Assembly.  Ahmadinejad had hoped the two would be freed in time for his trip to the United Nations, and even promised their release last week.

Bauer and Fattal have been in Iran's Evin prison since July 31, 2009.  Iranian authorities claimed the two had illegally crossed over into their territory while they were hiking in northern Iraq, and charged them with spying for the U.S.

Sarah Shourd, a third hiker and Bauer's fiancée, was also detained then but was released after posting $500,000 bail in September of 2010.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


CIA Contractor Freed in Pakistan After Deal Made with Victims' Families

Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images(LAHORE, Pakistan) -- The case of an American CIA contractor who was imprisoned in Pakistan for shooting two men in January has come to a stunning end.

ABC News confirmed Wednesday that Raymond Davis was released after the families of the two victims signed a statement of forgiveness in court.  The families will each receive an estimated $1.2 million for a total of $2.4 million, according to Davis' attorney.

Davis, a former Green Beret, was consulting on security work in Lahore on Jan. 27 when he claims two men tried to rob him. He told Pakistani authorities that he shot the men in self-defense.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio