Amanda Knox returns to Italy for 1st time since her acquittal

PHOTO: Amanda Knox speaks at a Criminal Justice Festival at the University of Modena, Italy, Saturday, June 15, 2019.PlayAntonio Calanni/AP
WATCH Amanda Knox returns to Italy

Amanda Knox made her return to Italy this week, her first time in the country since she was acquitted in 2015 for murder.

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She had agreed to be a panelist at a conference, which took place in the northern Italian city of Modena. Knox on Saturday spoke on a panel that discussed the media's role in criminal trials.

"Many think I was mad to come back, that I wouldn’t be safe, that I would be falsely accused and sent back to jail," she said in Italian. "I am afraid today ... scared of being molested, trapped ... but above all I am scared that I will lack courage. I know that I remain a controversial figure, especially in Italy."

She spoke for nearly an hour, recalling how she was treated by law enforcement and blaming the media for how she was represented in the case.

"I had zero motivation to kill my friend," she said. "And there was no DNA proof that involved me on the scene of the crime. Then I heard the judge pronounce 'guilty' and the verdict fell upon me like a crushing weight. I was innocent but the rest of the world decided I was guilty and were effectively rewriting reality in my past, present and future."

PHOTO: Amanda Knox addresses a panel discussion titled Trial by Media during the Criminal Justice Festival at the Law University of Modena, northern Italy, June 15, 2019. Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images
Amanda Knox addresses a panel discussion titled "Trial by Media" during the Criminal Justice Festival at the Law University of Modena, northern Italy, June 15, 2019.

Weeks earlier, Knox, 31, said in a tweet that she was "honored" to accept the invitation from The Italy Innocence Project.

The Italy Innocence Project, founded in 2013, is a non-profit organization that studies issues related to wrongful convictions in Italy and is part of the Law Department of the University of Roma.

Amanda Knox, a former American student who was accused and then acquitted of the murder of her roommate British student Meredith Kercher and visits Italy to speak at the Criminal Justice Festival, arrives at Milans Linate airport, Italy, June 13, 2019. Daniele Mascolo/Reuters
Amanda Knox, a former American student who was accused and then acquitted of the murder of her roommate British student Meredith Kercher and visits Italy to speak at the Criminal Justice Festival, arrives at Milan's Linate airport, Italy, June 13, 2019.

Before she arrived in Italy, Knox posted a photo on Instagram appearing to show her hanging from a cliff, saying she created her "own inspirational workplace poster" because she felt "frayed."

"Hang in there!" she wrote.

She also penned an essay published on Medium Wednesday discussing her interaction with the public amid intense media scrutiny. Entitled "Your Content, My Life," Knox called on media outlets to be "compassionate," "brave," and to " treat its subjects like the human beings they are."

"Someone’s life may make a great story, but it’s still their life," she wrote.

Amanda Knox, a former American student who was accused and then acquitted of the murder of her roommate British student Meredith Kercher visits Italy to speak at the Criminal Justice Festival, arrives at Milans Linate airport, Italy, June 13, 2019. Daniele Mascolo/Reuters
Amanda Knox, a former American student who was accused and then acquitted of the murder of her roommate British student Meredith Kercher visits Italy to speak at the Criminal Justice Festival, arrives at Milan's Linate airport, Italy, June 13, 2019.

Knox was a 20-year-old college student studying abroad in Italy when she was accused of murdering her roommate, British student Meredith Kercher, in November 2007. After a long judicial ordeal, which involved two appeal court trials and two Supreme Court decisions, Knox, along with Raffaele Sollecito, her Italian boyfriend at the time, were finally acquitted of murder in 2015.

Knox left Italy immediately after the acquittal and has not returned to the country.

PHOTO: Amanda Knox, the study abroad student who was accused in Italy of the 2007 murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher, is standing up for other women as host of her own docuseries, The Scarlet Letter Reports. Paula Lobo/ABC
Amanda Knox, the study abroad student who was accused in Italy of the 2007 murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher, is standing up for other women as host of her own docuseries, "The Scarlet Letter Reports."

Rudy Guede was found guilty of Kercher's murder in a separate trial in 2008 and is serving a sentence of 16 years.

Martina Cagossi, a criminal lawyer and one of the founders of The Italy Innocence Project, told ABC News that she met Knox at a conference in the U.S. and said Knox had shown interest in her organization.

ABC News' Ben Gittleson contributed to this report.