Rafaelle Sollecheto has been picked up by police in an Italian hotel close to the Slovenian-Austrian border. He has had his passport confiscated.
A travel ban was imposed on the Italian by the court of appeal after it reinstated guilty verdicts on him and Amanda Knox for the murder of British student Meridith Kercher in 2009 in Perugia.
Knox is at home in Seattle in the US. She said she would never willingly return to Italy and will only be extradited “kicking and screaming”.
“I’m going to fight this until the very end. And it’s not right, and it’s not fair and I’m going to do everything that I can,” she told ABC News’ “Good Morning America” TV programme on Friday.
In the fresh ruling Knox was sentenced to 28 years and six months and Sollecito to 25 years. The sentences have to be confirmed by Italy’s high court to become definitive.
Lawyers for the two said they will appeal and a prolonged legal fight is now in prospect.
‘Never know the truth’
Kercher’s family wants Knox to be extradited to Italy.
They said they may never really know what happened when Meridith was murdered in the flat she shared with Knox.
Sister Stephanie said she had not been able to properly grieve due to a drawn-out struggle to establish the basic facts of the night their sister was killed.
“It may be that we never know the truth about what happened that night,” she said.
“No matter what the decision is and when it’s finally upheld or not, you know, nothing of course is going to bring Meridith back. Nothing will ever take away the horror of what happened to her. The best we can hope for is finally to bring this case to a conclusion with a conviction and then everybody can move on with their lives,” Meridith’s brother Lyle told reporters.
‘Not trying to flee’
Sollecito left the court hours before the verdict was delivered and was found by police in the early hours of Friday between the northern towns of Udine and Tarvisio, less than 10 kilometres from Italy’s border with Austria.
It was not immediately clear what he was doing in the region. Italian media said he briefly crossed into Austria before returning to Italy, but his lawyer denied he was trying to escape, having left Thursday’s hearing early due to stress.
“Raffaele Sollecito had no intention of fleeing. He went to the police station in Udine voluntarily,” lawyer Luca Maori said. He said Sollecito was still completing the formalities for the surrender of his passport at the police station.
Under the terms of his sentence, authorities were confiscating his passport and have instructed him not to leave Italy after the verdict. For the moment he is free to travel around inside the country.
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