Six scientists' sentence-shocker.
October 22, 2012 2:02 PM Subscribe
posted by progosk (46 comments total)
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Six natural disaster experts and one government official were sentenced today
to six years in jail for not having warned the populace of the major earthquake that hit L'Aquila, Italy in April of 2009 (previously
The National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Major Risks, of which they were members, held a meeting six days prior to the quake, after several small tremors had been recorded in the region, and had ruled that it was impossible to determine whether the tremors would be followed by a large quake, in a judgment which reassured residents. One of the experts told a press conference that the situation was "normal" and even "favourable" because potentially destructive energy was being released through the tremors. The prosecution, which brought charges of multiple manslaughter, maintained that lives could have been saved had people not been persuaded by the assurances to remain in the area.
At the time, the Italian news had featured claims by an independent earthquake researcher, who had been predicting a major eathquake
, based on radon emissions.
The 6.3 magnitude quake struck a week later, devastating L’Aquila, and causing over 300 victims. The scientists' defence argued that there is no current technological means that would have permitted the experts to predict the earthquake. They were charged for having provided “an incomplete, inept, unsuitable and criminally mistaken” assessment of the seismological risk at the time. The judge has also imposed lifetime bans from holding public office on the defendants, and ordered them to pay compensation of €7.8m, with two million euros to be paid immediately. (Under the Italian system, the seven will remain free until they have exhausted two chances to appeal.)