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L'Aquila earthquake scientists convicted of manslaughter

On October 22 an Italian court found six scientists and other members of Italy's Grand Commission on High Risks guilty of manslaughter for purportedly falsely reassuring the public concerning the threat of an earthquake which ultimately struck the town of  L'Aquila, killing over 300 people.  

The court sentenced the scientists to six years in prison, but an appeal is expected in the highly controversial case surrounding science and risk communication.  The initial indictment and the recent verdict have created an outcry from the scientific community, including a letter from AAAS CEO Alan Leshner in 2010, asserting "that there is no accepted scientific method for earthquake prediction that can be reliably used to warn citizens of an impending disaster," and expressing concern over the ultimate chilling effect on researchers that the indictment would have.

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