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L'Aquila earthquake scientists have their convictions overturned

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L'Aquila earthquake scientists have their convictions overturned


A group of Italian scientists convicted of manslaughter for failing to predict the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake have had their convictions overturned.

Judge Fabrzia Ida Francabendera said there was no case to answer and absolved the defendants of a six-year jail sentence.

But there was anger among families of the 300 or so victims of the earthquake outside the courthouse after hearing the verdict:

“Truth and justice have not been served here. We know the people of L’Aquila know the truth. This judgement did not give us justice, “ said one distraught woman.

The scientists were members of the National Commission for the Forecast and Prevention of Major Risks ( a civil protection authority) and former senior member Bernardo De Bernardinis is the only one to have had his conviction reduced rather than quashed.

Many in L’Aquila blame the experts of falsely reassuring locals that the town was structurally safe.

Monday’s decision to overturn the verdicts came after a month-long appeal process, but locals said they in turn will appeal to have the original verdicts reinstated via a higher court.

In 2009 a magnitude 6.3 quake stuck the town in central Italy, killing scores and destroying tens of thousands of buildings.

But the convictions two years later caused outrage among Italy’s scientific community who said they were based on a fundamental misunderstanding of earthquake science.

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