Italian Scientists Convicted, Sentenced to Prison for Failing to Predict Quake

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Gavel, File photo

ROME, Italy — Six scientists and a government official have been found guilty of manslaughter after a judge ruled that they did not predict a 2009 earthquake that killed over 300 people.

According to the report from the BBC, the seven defendants – all members of the Italian National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Major Risks – were convicted of providing “inexact, incomplete and contradictory” information about the dangers in the area around L’Aquila.

The April 6, 2009, 6.3 magnitude earthquake killed 309 people and flattened the city of L’Aquila.

Attorneys for the defendants, who were sentenced to six years in prison each, say that they will appeal the verdict.

According to the BBC, the trial has caused some scientists to warn that the case will set a dangerous precedent that could deter experts from sharing their knowledge with the public for fear of prosecution or lawsuits.

Over 5,000 scientists from around the world have signed an open letter to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano in support of the seven men.

Click here for more on this story from the BBC.

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