Tuesday, 4 October 2011

With liberty and justice for all?

The news that Amanda Knox, the American student convicted of murdering her British flatmate in Perugia, Italy in 2007, has been freed on appeal has been met with popular acclaim across the Atlantic.  This is unsurprising as the US media assumed from the start that the Italian justice system was so flawed and the Italian police so incompetent that a fair trial was impossible.

Even if it's true that Italy's justice system is flawed, it does not follow that the US one is superior. Those who think so might want to consider the case of Troy Davis, the 42 year old African-American man executed last month in Georgia for the 1989 shooting of an off-duty police officer, who was convicted on similarly shaky evidence and protested his innocence up to the door of the execution chamber.

That the US media assumes an eduicated, middle-class white woman is innocent and a poor Southern black man is guilty says a lot about the racism that still runs through much of American society.

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