Prosecutors yesterday urged Italy's highest criminal court to reinstate the murder convictions of Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend.
Ms Knox, 24, was last October cleared of killing Meredith Kercher when an appeal court accepted that DNA evidence used to convict her and Raffaele Sollecito, 27, was flawed.
But prosecutors yesterday launched an 111-page appeal at the Supreme Court of Cassation to have the pair's convictions reinstated, claiming the decision to acquit them was "contradictory and illogical" with "omissions and many errors".
The second appeal process marks the final stage in the criminal case against them.
Judges may overturn last October's acquittals only on technical grounds. No new evidence can be introduced and the prosecution's room for manoeuvre is limited.
Under Italian law, Ms Knox and Mr Sollecito cannot be retried for the same crimes. There was no immediate comment yesterday from Ms Knox or her lawyers. But Mr Sollecito angrily told Italy's Ansa news agency: "I've already been through four years of hell."
His lawyer, Luca Maori, said the court was expected to issue its decision near the end of the year. "We will write our brief to say it's a mistake," he said.
Ms Knox returned immediately to her home in Seattle when she was freed last year.
Some legal experts have said Italian prosecutors would have difficulty in extraditing her from the US even if the court were to re-establish her guilt.
She was initially handed a 26-year prison term and Mr Sollecito one of 25 years for the November 2007 murder of British student Ms Kercher, 21, who was stabbed 40 times and had her throat slashed.
But a review of evidence at last year's appeal said the amounts of DNA used to convict them was below internationally accepted levels.
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