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 L'Aquila quake: Italy scientists guilty of manslaughter 
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Post L'Aquila quake: Italy scientists guilty of manslaughter
Six Italian scientists and an ex-government official have been sentenced to six years in prison over the 2009 deadly earthquake in L'Aquila.

A regional court found them guilty of multiple manslaughter.

Prosecutors said the defendants gave a falsely reassuring statement before the quake, while the defence maintained there was no way to predict major quakes.

The 6.3 magnitude quake devastated the city and killed 309 people.

Many smaller tremors had rattled the area in the months before the quake that destroyed much of the historic centre.

It took Judge Marco Billi slightly more than four hours to reach the verdict in the trial, which had begun in September 2011.

Lawyers have said that they will appeal against the sentence. As convictions are not definitive until after at least one level of appeal in Italy, it is unlikely any of the defendants will immediately face prison.

'Alarming' case

The seven - all members of the National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Major Risks - were accused of having provided "inaccurate, incomplete and contradictory" information about the danger of the tremors felt ahead of 6 April 2009 quake, Italian media report. :huh

snip

Read more here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20025626

:shock:

What? Am I missing something here? I don't understand why these scientists were put on trial in the first place. To my knowledge, no one can predict an earthquake. :hmm

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Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:01 am
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Post Re: L'Aquila quake: Italy scientists guilty of manslaughter
I don't know either what the runup to them being put on trial was. No, at this point in time nobody can accurately predict an EQ. The article mentioned that at the time, some small tremors were generally thought by the scientific community not to herald a coming larger quake. This is what the scientists on trial said, in their considered opinion, but it turned out that a large quake did indeed follow the smaller ones.

As mentioned in the article, this is a definite setback to science in general, and any science involved with giving warnings about natural events. In future, scientists will no longer feel free to state what they "think" might happen, for fear of being put on trial! Very bad precedent to set!!

It seems that the scientists were the "weakest link in the chain of command" and were served up as scapegoats. The trial, and the verdict, are under heavy criticism from scientists everywhere, as well as members of the Italian government as well. Hopefully, in the appeal process where the case will be put before at least two other judges, the verdict will be overturned and the idea of trying scientists for warning - or not warning - the community will be condemned.

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Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:54 pm
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