INTERNATIONAL

In Bangladesh, murder charges against Rana plaza owner

Construction crew clear debris at the site of the collapsed factory complex near Dhaka. (Inset) Owner Sohel Rana.— File photos: AFP

Construction crew clear debris at the site of the collapsed factory complex near Dhaka. (Inset) Owner Sohel Rana.— File photos: AFP  

Bangladesh police said on Tuesday they will press murder charges against the owner of a nine-storey building that collapsed and killed 1,135 garment workers last April, the worst industrial disaster in the country’s history.

Sohel Rana, owner of the Rana Plaza factory complex on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka, was one of around 40 people who would be charged in connection with the disaster, said lead investigator Bijoy Krishna Kar.

“We are planning to press murder charges against Sohel Rana and some other accused,” Mr. Kar of the police’s Criminal Investigation Department told AFP, adding that if convicted Mr. Rana could be sentenced to death.

It was the first time police have said they would file murder charges against Mr. Rana, arrested as he tried to flee the country days after the April 24 disaster.

Mr. Rana, a junior official in the ruling Awami League party, became very unpopular after survivors recounted how thousands of them were forced to enter the compound at the start of the working day despite complaints about cracks appearing in the walls.

Among the others expected to be charged are Mr. Rana’s father, who is a co-owner of the building, and five bosses of the garment factories operating within the complex.

“We hope we can press the charges by next month,” said Mr. Rahman. Bangladesh is home to around 4,500 garment factories which employ around four million workers— some 80 per cent of them are women — who are paid some of the lowest wages on earth. — AFP

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