Owners charged in Bangladesh factory fire

DHAKA, Bangladesh — The owners and managers of a garment factory were charged Sunday in connection with a fire that killed 112 people in Bangladesh last year, officials said.

Investigators submitted the charges of culpable homicide to a magistrate court against the owners, Delawar Hossain and his wife, Mahmuda Akter, and 11 managers of the Tazreen Fashin factory.

The court set Dec. 31 as the date to hear the charges so it could decide whether to accept them for trial.

The charges were filed after more than a year of investigation.

Survivors alleged that the main exits were locked and they were not allowed to leave when the fire broke out at the factory, which produced clothing for global brands such as Wal-Mart.

Human rights activists have asked the government to arrest the factory owners, who were told not to leave the country. Police had arrested a few of the managers and security officers, who later were freed on bail.

Bangladesh, the world’s second-largest apparel producer after China, came under severe criticism over poor safety standards after the fire and this year’s collapse of the Rana Plaza building, which also housed garment factories. That collapse killed more than 1,100 people.

The apparel industry contributes nearly 80 per cent of Bangladesh’s export earnings.

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