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Italy: Nine people 'under investigation' for Pompeii collapses

ultimo aggiornamento: 16 dicembre, ore 19:17
Nine people were reportedly placed under investigation Thursday for the collapses in November of two buildings at the ancient Roman city of Pompeii - a UNESCO World Heritage site.


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Rome, 16 Dec. (AKI) - Nine people were reportedly placed under investigation Thursday for the collapses in November of two buildings at the ancient Roman city of Pompeii - a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The individuals targeted by the probe are the former superintendent at the 2,000-year-old site, Pietro Giovanni Guzzo, director of excavations Antonio Varone, and several administrators and surveyors employed by the Pompeii Archaeological Superintendency.

The suspects could face criminal charges over one of Pompeii's most archaeologically important buildings, the House of the Gladiators, whose collapse on 6 November following heavy rains shocked the world and sparked calls for Italy's culture minister Sandro Bondi to resign.

Guzzo and the other suspects are also being investigated for criminal responsibility over the collapse in late November of a wall belonging to Pompeii's House of the Moralist, located close to the House of the Gladiators.

"I think the prosecutors will do their job in complete independence and will shed light on what actually happened," said Bondi, commenting on the probe.

"I hope the truth can finally be established on what happened. I have been put in the dock as if I were the only suspect," he said.

Italy's president Giorgio Napolitano called the Pompeii collapses "a national disgrace".

Bondi faces a parliamentary no-confidence motion over his ministry's management of the sprawling Pompeii site. Italy's opposition Italy of Values party said Bondi had "done more damage than Vesuvius," referring to the volcanic eruption that buried the ancient city in 79 AD.

He denies wrongdoing and has rejected opposition calls for his resignation after November's collapses at Pompeii and three other less serious collapses there in early December after many weeks of torrential rains.

The Italian government in 2008 declared a "state of emergency" at the fragile Pompeii archaological site - one of the best preserved in the world - saying it had fallen into disrepair.

Bondi said he had "done a good job" in appointing a special commissioner for the site.

He has also promised to set up a new foundation to better channel funds and manage conservation at the ruins, which are visited by around two million people and bring in over 50 million euros of revenue each year.

UNESCO inspectors will report on Pompeii at a conference in Bahrain in June. Some international experts suggested removing Pompeii's care from Italy's hands after the collapse of the House of the Gladiators, a spacious hall once used by a military association.


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