The disaster agency chief in Italy resigned Tuesday, a day after a court sentenced six scientists and a government official for failing to adequately predict a deadly earthquake in 2009.
Luciano Maiani quit his post in protest against the prison sentences, the BBC reported.
“These are professionals who spoke in good faith and were by no means motivated by personal interests, they had always said that it is not possible to predict an earthquake,” he was quoted as saying by the BBC, which cited a local newspaper.
He added that the scientists’ six-year jail sentences for manslaughter mark “the end of scientists giving consultations to the state.”
“The situation created by yesterday’s sentence … is incompatible with running the commission’s work in a calm and efficient manner and with its role of giving high level advice to the organs of the state,” he said.
For weeks before the quake, small tremors had caused panic among locals. Bernardo De Bernardinis, one of those convicted, spoke to the press, assuring them there was “no danger.” He told people to relax with a glass of wine, according to AFP.
Some 300 people were killed in the April 2009 earthquake that struck the town of L’Aquila. Many people said they stayed in their homes on the night of quake because of the advice from Italy’s disaster agency.
Roberto Vinci of the National Research Council also resigned Tuesday over the prison terms, telling AFP he did so “to show support for those who, perhaps having reacted with a certain naivety and certainly under great pressure, have been accused of manslaughter.”
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