L'Aquila drops quake charges against Guido Bertolaso
Request filed to clear ex-regional councillor too30 January, 13:52
Picuti also requested that charges be shelved against former regional councillor Daniela Stati.
The two are under investigation for manslaughter and unintentional injury in relation to a meeting held in L'Aquila by the Committee for Major Risks just six days before a devastating earthquake hit the area on April 6, 2009, killing more than 300 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless.
The committee had met to examine rumblings that had frightened residents for months. In a memo, the experts concluded that it was "unlikely" that there would be a major quake, though it stressed that the possibility could not be ruled out.
One week later, the 6.3-magnitude tremor hit, toppling buildings, killing 309 people and displacing 65,000 more in and around the city.
In October 2012, an Italian judge sentenced seven Italian scientists and officials to six years in prison for manslaughter, including Enzo Boschi, former president of the National Geophysics and Vulcanology Institute.
Boschi and others were also banned for life from public office.
The presiding judge in the case ruled that inadequate risk assessment and resulting reassurances led many residents to remain inside on the night of the quake, pushing up the death toll.
The case, in which seven defendants argued it is impossible to predict a quake, received international attention, with over 5,000 scientists from around the world having signed a letter supporting those on trial. The convictions prompted physicist Luciano Maiani to resign as president of Italy's principal natural-disaster risk-assessment body, and drew bafflement from Italian Environment Minister Corrado Clini, who also declared he hoped the convictions would be overturned on appeal.
An ex-school chief and an elderly architect have also been sentenced over deaths in the April 2009 quake.