Important News:

14 November 2014

Acquittal of Italian seismologists

In October 2012, six Italian seismologists and one government official were convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to prison as a consequence of the 6.3 magnitude earthquake in L’Aquila, central Italy, on 6 April 2009. Learned scientific societies worldwide reacted to the court’s decision with astonishment and dismay. The Geological Association of Canada issued a formal ‘Statement on Conviction of Italian Geoscientists’ on 30 October 2012.

Our statement made the point that it will be counterproductive because experts will be afraid to offer scientific advice relating to natural hazards and other issues. It pointed out further that “The case itself indicates the growing gap between the sciences and the public to fully comprehend and appreciate both the benefits and limitations of our discipline which aims to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our society.”

The news has just been circulated that the six seismologists were acquitted by the appeals court. The story may not be over, however, if it is challenged at the next level, the supreme court.


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