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Europe

Raffaele Sollecito found by police near Austrian border

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-01-31

Raffaele Sollecito, convicted for a second time on Thursday along with ex-girlfriend Amanda Knox for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher, has been found by police near the Italian border with Austria.

Police said they picked up the 29-year-old at a hotel in Venzone, a small town of 2,200 about 40 kilometres from the border in northeast Italy, at around 1am on Friday,  just hours after an appeals court in Florence sentenced him to 25 years in prison.

He was taken to the police station in nearby Udine, said the station’s cabinet chief Giovanni Belmonte. He added that the police were unsure if Sollecito had planned to leave Italy.

A police statement said Sollecito had reached the area in the early afternoon of Thursday, having chosen not to attend the verdict at the Florence court, reportedly due to stress.

"Raffaele Sollecito... was notified of the cautionary measures of the travel ban and the confiscation of his passport in the first hours of this morning,” said the statement.

Sollecito's lawyer, Luca Maori, said his client had no plans to flee, however, and was in the area because that is where his current girlfriend lives.

The court in Florence on Thursday upheld the conviction against Knox and Sollecito, overturning an earlier appeal that had freed them.

Knox was sentenced to 28 years and six months in prison for Kercher's 2007 murder. According to the court's judgment, Sollecito can move freely within Italy, as the sentence is not yet definitive. He would begin his sentence if and when it was confirmed by Italy's highest court.

Knox is in her US hometown of Seattle and would have to be extradited to serve a sentence. Her sentence of must also be confirmed by Italy's high court to become definitive.

(FRANCE 24 with AP and REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-01-31

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