- The Washington Times - Monday, March 16, 2009

ROME (AP) - A Congolese man held for two weeks in jail during Italy’s investigation into the slaying of a British student has been awarded euro8,000 (about $10,500) in damages by the Italian state, his lawyer said Monday.

Diya “Patrick” Lumumba was detained after another suspect, American student Amanda Knox, implicated him in the November 2007 slaying of her British roommate Meredith Kercher in Perugia.

Knox and her former Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, are now on trial for the murder, while Ivorian national Rudy Hermann Guede was convicted of murder last year in the case and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Lumumba, who has always denied wrongdoing, was released from jail on Nov. 20, 2007, for lack of evidence and has been cleared of any involvement.

He had sued the Italian state for euro516,000 (about $670,000). His lawyer said the damages awarded Monday by the court in Perugia were unsatisfactory and he would appeal.

“We consider this amount unfair for all the damage he’s suffered,” lawyer Carlo Pacelli said. “In a second his image as a man, as a father and husband has been completely destroyed.”

The two suspects still on trial also deny wrongdoing.

Knox at one point told investigators she was home during the killing and had to cover her ears to drown out Kercher’s screams while Lumumba killed her, according to court documents.

Separately, Lumumba is seeking defamation damages from Knox.

Knox once worked at a popular Perugia bar owned by Lumumba, which is now closed.

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