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Rana Plaza factory owner charged with murder over collapse

Date: 1 Jun 2015

Rana Plaza

The authorities in Bangladesh have said that they are to press murder charges against the owners of the Rana Plaza factory where over 1,100 people died in 2013. In total 41 people are to be charged who are held to have shared "collective responsibility" for the factory's collapse which became the worst industrial accident in Bangladesh's history and the third worst worldwide. The number includes more than a dozen government officials.

Operations continued at the factory after cracks had begun to appear in walls. Sohel Rana, the building's owner, had been party to discussions that led to the decision to keep the plant open which directly led to the deaths, and had attempted to flee the country in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. The act of requiring workers to continue after concerns had been raised encouraged the prosecutors to change the charge from culpable homicide, which carries a maximum sentence of seven years, to murder, for which the maximum possible sentence if convicted would be the death penalty.

Over 2,430 workers were rescued from the rubble of the factory after six of its floors collapsed. Only the Union Carbide accident in Bhopal and the explosion at the Benxihu Colliery coal mine are held to have caused more fatalities.

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