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Factory Collapse Equals Murder: Bangladeshi Officials

As factory owner faces murder charges, abuses continue across garment industry

Aerial view of the collapsed Rana Plaza factory complex following the disaster (Photo: rijans / Wikimedia Creative Commons)

Aerial view of the collapsed Rana Plaza factory complex following the disaster (Photo: rijans / Wikimedia Creative Commons)

Bangladeshi police announced Tuesday they are throwing murder charges at an owner of the Rana Plaza factory complex that collapsed last April, killing 1,135 garment workers and injuring over 2,500.

Owner Sohel Rana is one of approximately 40 people who will face charges relating to the disaster, lead investigator Bijoy Krishna Kar told AFP. “We are planning to press murder charges against Sohel Rana and some other accused,” stated Kar.

Rana was arrested while attempting to flee Bangladesh days after the disaster, and police say the charges could bring a death sentence.

The collapse of the nine-story building, located in the greater Dhaka area, is the worst garment industry tragedy in Bangladeshi history.

The disaster shined an international spotlight light on the garment industry's rampant abuse, dangerous conditions, and retaliation for organizing. Bangladesh's estimated 4 million garment workers, 80 percent of whom are women from rural areas, earn a paltry $38 U.S. dollars a month, making them some of the lowest-paid garment workers in the world.

These abuses continue despite global outrage, record garment worker protests, and promises of reform from Western retail giants that profit from Bangladeshi sweatshops.

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