Italian scientists sentenced to six years in prison for not predicting earthquake
The court found them guilty of “manslaughter”, although the defense argued that currently there is no way to predict an earthquake.
The earthquake of 6.3 magnitude devastated the city, causing 309 deaths. Before the earthquake, there were several earthquakes of lower intensity, and seven were accused of having given information “inaccurate, incomplete and contradictory” about these movements felt before, which had led to confusion or overconfidence people for the day of the earthquake.
In addition to the prison, the defendants – all members of the Major Risks Committee – will not be eligible to work in public office in the future.
The defendants are quite renowned scientists: Enzo Boschi, former president of the National Institute of Geophysics, Giulio Selvaggi, director of the National Earthquake Center, Franco Barberi, head of the Major Risks Committee, Gian Michele Calvi, director of European Earthquake Engineering Central; Mauro Dolce, director of the office of risk of earthquakes Civil Protection Agency, Bernardo de Bernardinis, former chairman of the technical department of the Civil Protection Agency, and the physicist Claudio Eva.
The lawyers said they would appeal the ruling, issued by Judge Marco Billi.
The case has alarmed the international scientific community, as it could set a precedent for other researchers, and to do that in the future scientists afraid to speak publicly for fear that it deems to be the this way if they end up being incorrect predictions or not completely accurate.
Previously, more than 5,000 scientists signed an open letter to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, in support of the accused group.
Link: Earthquake experts Convicted of manslaughter (ScienceInsider)Tags: earthquake, Italy, Justice, L'Aquila, scientists