Scientists Convicted in Earthquake Trial

Guilty of failing to predict a deadly 2009 earthquake


An Italian court has found six scientists and one former government official guilty of manslaughter for failing to predict the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake that killed 286 people. The prosecution accused the seven men, who were, at the time, members of the National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Major Risks, of giving falsely reassuring statements after tremors struck the area six days before the deadly quake occurred. The defense maintained that earthquake prediction remains a wildly inaccurate and unpredictable science, and that the defendants had found no reason to issue a serious warning.

More than 5,000 scientists have already signed an open letter sent to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, calling the charges “unfair and naïve,” and urging him to put a stop to the proceedings. “To accept more of science at this time is unreasonable,” the letter reads. “It is manifestly unfair for scientists to be criminally charged for failing to act on information that the international scientific community would consider inadequate as a basis for issuing a warning.”

All seven of the defendants are currently appealing the decision.

Via BBC Europe