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Six Italian scientists and a government official have gone on trial in L’Aquila over actions they took before the 6.3 magnitude earthquake that devastated the city in 2009, reports the BBC.The group has been charged with manslaughter after offering statements of reassurance and calm after studying tremors prior to the disaster. Overall, 309 people lost their lives as a result of the earthquake with over 70,000 left homeless.
Prosecutors are accusing the cohort, which includes some of Italy’s most senior geophysicists, of negligence prior to the disaster. The group did offer reassurances before the quake, but also conceded that events were difficult to predict and suggested enforcing stronger anti-seismic measures.
Only one of the group attended the first day of the trial. ABC news reports that a petition with the signatures of 5,000 members of the international scientific community is being circulated condemning the charges.
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