News & AnalysisScience and the Law

Prison Terms for L'Aquila Experts Shock Scientists

Science  26 Oct 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6106, pp. 451-452
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6106.451

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Summary

In a decision that has sent shock waves through the scientific community, a judge in the central Italian town of L'Aquila has handed down manslaughter sentences of 6 years to each of seven experts who gave advice ahead of the deadly earthquake that struck here in 2009. The four scientists, two engineers, and a government official were accused of having carried out only a superficial analysis of seismic risk and providing false reassurances to the public ahead of the quake, which killed 309 people. The lawyers for those convicted say they will appeal the verdict.

  • * Edwin Cartlidge is a science writer in Rome.