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by Staff Writers
Rome (AFP) Oct 29, 2012
Italian Environment Minister Corrado Clini said on Monday he hoped an appeals court would overturn the jail sentence of six seismologists found guilty of manslaughter for underestimating the risks of a 2009 earthquake in the central city of L'Aquila.
"I hope the L'Aquila verdict will be overturned on appeal because it is impossible to make precise and timely predictions of earthquakes," Clini told the Italian news channel TGCOM24.
"It's not fair to ask that of scientists," he added, echoing the alarm of the global science community over the verdict.
A court in L'Aquila last week sentenced the six seismologists and a government official to six years in jail for multiple manslaughter and ordered them to pay more than nine million euros ($11.7 million) in damages.
The defendants were all members of a risk assessment committee that met in L'Aquila less than a week before the 6.3-magnitude quake struck, killing 309 people, destroying homes and ancient churches and leaving thousands of people homeless.
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