Italian Earthquake Scientists Sentenced to 6 Years

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Six Italian scientists and a government official were sentenced to six years in jail on Monday for multiple manslaughter in a watershed ruling that found them guilty of underestimating the risks of a killer earthquake in 2009.

They were also ordered to pay more than nine million euros (almost $12 million) in damages to survivors in the devastated medieval town of L'Aquila in a case that has sparked outrage in the international science community.

When the charges were brought against the geophysicists in 2010, many complained that they were merely scapegoats and warned against putting science on trial.

Over 5,000 members of the scientific community sent an open letter to President Giorgio Napolitano denouncing the trial against colleagues for failing to predict a quake -- a feat widely acknowledged to be impossible.

Under the Italian justice system, the seven remain free until they have exhausted two chances to appeal the verdict.

Earthquake Scientists Sentenced to 6 Years : Discovery News

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