An Italian court has convicted six scientists and a government official on a charge of ‘multiple manslaughter’ and sentenced them to six years in prison. After failing, to give adequate warning, of the deadly earthquake, which destroyed the city of L'Aquila and killed 309 people in 2009.
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. The court heard how the defendants gave a falsely reassuring statement before the quake, while the defence maintained there was no way to predict major quakes.
The decision to prosecute some of Italy's leading geophysicists has drawn condemnation from around the world. As experts say it would have been beyond anyone’s capability to predict exactly what would happen in L'Aquila
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.
Written and Presented by Ann Salter