It seemed like something had to have been lost in translation when I first read this, but no -- in Italy, the trial of seven scientists is now underway on criminal manslaughter charges because they allegedly failed to predict and warn citizens of the possibility of a significant earthquake that hit the Italian city of L'Aquila on April 6, 2009. Prosecutors allege that the defendant scientists gave "inexact, incomplete and contradictory information" regarding some tremors that led up the earthquake. Digital Journal reports that prosecutors have indicted the scientists "because of their failure to say that a 'significant quake was possible,' preventing the area's population from taking preventive measures." The families of people who died in the earthquake are separately seeking $68.2 million dollars in damages from the defendants. The seismological community has rallied in support of the accused scientists. Digital Journal reports that more than 5,200 international "researchers, professors, postdocs, [and] seismologists" have signed a petition supporting the seven defendants and the Seismological Society of America has denounced the charges as an "unprecedented legal action against members of the seismological community." Seismologists also warn that it is dangerous to allow prosecutions like this one because the fear of legal...

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