What do the Navalny-Ofitserov and Knox-Sollecito trials have in common?

The August 2013 trial of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny and his friend Pyotr Ofitserov was, and the re-trial of Amanda Knox and Raffaele Sollecito, which began on Sept. 30, are likely to be adversely and perversely affected by findings from earlier criminal trials in which the defendants were not represented.

Interestingly, both of the earlier trials, in Italy as well as in Russia, were “fast-track,” that is did not involve proper witness testimony with cross-examination. I wrote about the “other” Navalny trial in “Res Judicata, Russian Style.” As for the Knox-Sollecito trial, it is the findings of the fast-track trial of Rudy Guede – likely the sole perpetrator – that place needless obstacles in defense’s way.

That trial was in most respects perfunctory yet the judge concluded that Guede did not act alone and the break-in was “staged.” However it follows from the testimony of at least five medical experts that Guede might have very well acted alone. It has also been shown by the defense experts that the break-in was eminently doable – and the recent Channel 5 reconstruction showed how easy the climb was.

Both trials, by the way, are highly politicized. The persecution of Knox seems largely motivated by pervasive anti-Americanism in certain segments of the Italian judiciary and society in general. To say nothing of the same sentiment in Britain (England more specifically), perhaps less widespread but nastier and ingrained deeper.


  1. Russia should be glad to have Italy, since from what I remember, according to a report from the European Court for Human Rights (which I can’t find right now), Italy is the only country in Europe to have a worse human rights record than Russia, mainly due to their judicial and law enforcement record. If you are an immigrant and you bump into an Italian policeman, you might as well kiss your ass goodbye.

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