Owner of collapsed Bangladesh factory faces murder charges

Sohel Rana could a death sentence if he is convicted.


Afp April 15, 2014
Bangladeshi property tycoon Sohel Rana (C) is presented at a press conference at the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) headquarters in Dhaka. PHOTO: AFP

DHAKA: The owner of a nine-storey building that collapsed and killed 1,135 Bangladeshi garment workers in April last year is to face murder charges and a possible death sentence, police say.

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

"We are planning to press murder charges against Sohel Rana and some other accused," Kar of the Bangladesh police's Criminal Investigation Department told AFP.

If convicted, Rana could be sentenced to death.

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

Rana, a junior official in the ruling Awami League party, became the country's public enemy number one 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 Rana's father, who is a co-owner of the building, and five bosses of the garment factories operating within the complex who also allegedly ignored the cracks.

The collapse was the worst industrial disaster in Bangladesh's history.

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