Owner of collapsed Bangladesh garment factory to face murder charges

The owner of the Bangladeshi garment factory which collapsed and killed 1,100 people in 2013 will be charged with murder.

The owner of the Bangladeshi garment factory which collapsed and killed 1,100 people in 2013 will be charged with murder.

AFP reports that Sohel Rana, owner of the Rana Plaza factory, is among 42 people who will be charged over the collapse which is the third deadliest industrial disaster of all time.

The second worst such disaster was the explosion of the Benxihu Colliery coal mine in China's Liaoning province, in 1942 and the worst was the Union Carbide gas leak that killed 3,787 people in Bhopal, India, in 1984.

Rana was arrested near the western border with India as he attempted to flee in the days following the factory collapse.

Others expected to be charged with murder include seven owners of factories which were housed in the Rana Plaza complex and three government engineers who approved extensions to the building.

In addition, a dozen government officials, including the mayor of the town in which the building stood, and a local councillor are likely to be charged.

According to lead investigator Bijoy Krishna Kar, all those charged could face the death penalty if found guilty.

The collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex shone the spotlight on working conditions in Bangladesh's $33 billion garment industry.

​Many western retailers source clothes from Bangladeshi suppliers and the disaster resulted in calls for all to become involved in improving working conditions in the industry.

In the months following the disaster, a plan to improve the situation through a safety accord was arrived at. However, conditions for workers are still difficult. For example, on Sunday a fire was reported in a local garment factory.