Scientists Convicted of Manslaughter Sentenced to 6 years

On Monday, a little over a year after the trial began, presiding judge Marco Billi took just over four hours to deliver a sentence condemning the seven men to six years in prison, the interdiction to hold any future public office and the payment of extensive damages to the victims of the earthquake and their families.

The seven were found guilty of multiple manslaughter, after having been accused of giving "falsely reassuring messages" to the population prior to the quake in April. Witnesses in the trial claimed that their relatives chose not to leave their houses before the quake struck because they were reassured by the committee that a bigger quake was unlikely, although not impossible.

One of the scientists, Enzo Boschi, a seismologist and formerly director of the Italian National Institute for Geophysics and Vulcanology, said that he was still "confused as to what exactly he'd been condemned of"; speaking to the Italian national newspaper, Corriere Della Sera, he added that he "has always maintained that earthquakes are impossible to predict," and that seismologists were targeted because they were "the weakest link in the chain of command."

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