- Kraft recalls 96K pounds of Oscar Mayer hot dogs over cheese error
- Boy Scouts boots church as host after gay leadership dispute
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s new book raises 2016 presidential speculation
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Rep. Marsha Blackburn: Hillary Clinton won’t be first female president
- French president accuses Syria’s Assad of gassing his own citizens
- Jimmy Carter’s grandson makes gains in governor’s race in Georgia
- Yemen: Airstrike targets al Qaeda training camps
- Easter worshippers shocked as car rams church, injuring 21
- NYT’s David Brooks: Obama has ‘manhood problem’ in Middle East
Italian court convicts 7 for not warning of quake
L’AQUILA, Italy (AP) — An Italian court convicted seven scientists and experts of manslaughter on Monday for failing to adequately warn citizens before an earthquake struck central Italy in 2009, killing more than 300 people.
The court in L’Aquila also sentenced the defendants to six years in prison. Each one is a member of the national Great Risks Commission.
In Italy, convictions aren’t definitive until after at least one level of appeals, so it is unlikely any of the defendants would face jail immediately.
Scientists worldwide have decried the trial as ridiculous, contending that science has no reliable way of predicting earthquakes.
Among those convicted were some of Italy’s most prominent and internationally respected seismologists and geological experts, including Enzo Boschi, former head of the national Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology.
“I am dejected, desperate,” Boschi said after the verdict. “I thought I would have been acquitted. I still don’t understand what I was convicted of.”
The trial began in September 2011 in this Apennine town, the devastated historic center of which is still largely a ghost town.
The defendants were accused in the indictment of giving “inexact, incomplete and contradictory information” about whether small tremors felt by L’Aquila residents in the weeks and months before the April 6, 2009, quake should have constituted grounds for a quake warning.
The 6.3-magnitude quake killed 308 people in and around the medieval town and forced survivors to live in tent camps for months.
Many much smaller earth tremors rattled the area in the months before the quake, causing frightened people to wonder if they should evacuate.
“I consider myself innocent before God and men,” said another convicted defendant, Bernardo De Bernardinis, a former official of the national Civil Protection agency.
Prosecutors had sought conviction and four-year sentences during the non-jury trial, which was led by a judge.
A defense lawyer, Filippo Dinacci, told reporters that the sentence would have “big repercussions” on public administration since officials would be afraid to “do anything.”
Frances D’Emilio contributed to this article from Rome.
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- USAID documents cite Hillary Clinton in chaos of Afghan aid
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- CURL: Shelly O first lady Michelle Obama comes in last
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- Building a D.C. memorial for an endless war bumps into regulations
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- No rush: Bob Goodlatte waits for heads to cool on heated legislation
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.