The trial of six Italian scientists and a former government official has begun in Italy after the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake.
The defendants are accused of manslaughter after giving a falsely reassuring statement before the 6.3 magnitude quake struck, devastating the city and killing 309 people.
Victims’ lawyer Wania Della Vigna said: “It is not science that is on trial here, as some say to discredit the trial. We are not anti science. Rather, it is a trial to find out if there were mistakes or wrongdoing by those scientists who held a meeting in L’Aquila on March 31, 2009.”
Despite a prior series of tremors, many people had remained in their homes and died on the night of the fatal quake, relying on the scientists’ expertise.
The case has attracted worldwide attention from seismologists who say it is impossible to predict when a quake will strike. The defendants face up to 15 years in jail if found guilty.