A court in the Italian city of L’Aquila on Monday convicted six scientists and one government official of manslaughter for failing to give sufficient warning of a fatal earthquake that hit in 2009.
The judge sentenced each man to six years in jail and ordered them to pay compensation and legal fees.
The prosecution case had centered on a meeting the seven defendants, members of a commission on natural disasters, held in L’Aquila on March 31 2009, in which they told residents there was no cause for concern after a series of minor shocks had rocked the city in the preceding six months.
Less than a week later, in the early hours of April 6, a 6.3-magnitude quake reduced much of the medieval city to rubble, leaving 309 people dead and more than 60,000 homeless, according to news reports at the time.
In a memo issued after the March 31 meeting, the experts concluded that it was "improbable" that there would be a major quake, although they stopped short of entirely excluding the possibility.
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