The owner of a collapsed building in Bangladesh is facing murder charges in the deaths of at least 622 factory workers. The workers died when the building — which housed four garment factories, a bank, and numerous shops — collapsed on April 24.
The government has blamed the collapse on the building’s faulty, illegal construction. The owner of the Rana Plaza building, Mohammed Sohel Rana, was arrested four days after the disaster while he was reportedly trying to flee the country.
The wife of a garment worker killed in the incident filed the murder complaint against Rana on Sunday. Murder complaints have also been filed against the owner of one garment factory, as well as a municipal engineer in the suburb of Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka.
Rana and the others in police custody could face the death penalty if they are convicted of murder or mass manslaughter. Hundreds of relatives gathered at the site of the Bangladesh building collapse on Sunday, with some holding up photographs of those they lost.
A teen girl broke down in tears as she recognized the body of her mother by her dress. Fifty-three bodies were recovered from the building’s rubble on Sunday. Rescue workers reported seeing more still trapped in the rubble. Because of decomposition and injuries, authorities are having a difficult time identifying those killed in the collapse.
They have been using ID cards found on the bodies or even the victims’ mobile phones to identify them. The building collapse well surpassed the mark of being the country’s worst industrial disaster ever.
Rana appeared in court last Monday in front of a crowd of protesters, who demanded he be hanged for his part in the collapse. The man is the local leader of the Awami League’s youth front. The woman who lodged the murder complaint against him stated that her husband was forced to go to work in the factory, despite huge cracks appearing in the walls of the building the day before.
Along with being the country’s worst industrial accident on record, the Bangladesh building collapse surpassed the world record for the worst industrial incident ever.