Italy sentenced seven earthquake experts to six years in prison because of their failure to properly alert citizens of the earthquake that killed over 300 people in 2009, the New York Times reported.
The earthquake experts were convicted of manslaughter on Monday, according to the New York Times. Reuters reported Tuesday that Italy's Civil Protection Agency said that this conviction would paralyze future disaster prevention, because it will make other experts reluctant to express their opinions.
"I'm afraid it's going to teach scientists to keep their mouths shut," said Thomas H. Jordan, a professor at the University of Southern California, to the New York Times.
Before the earthquake, the convicted seismologists assessed the risk in a way that was "incomplete, imprecise and contradictory," according to prosecutors of the case, Reuters reported.
Reuters stated that part of the issue is the language with which scientists assess natural disaster situations, making it difficult for people to clearly comprehend the gravity of the problem.