The Rana Plaza disaster killed around 1,100 workers

The Rana Plaza disaster killed around 1,100 workers

A Bangladesh court has formally charged 38 people, including Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana and his parents, with murder connected to the 2013 collapse of the building that killed 1,135 garment workers.

In total, 41 people linked to the country's worst industrial disaster will face charges; 38 of those for murder and three for helping Rana flee after the incident which happened in the industrial suburb of Savar. Of the 35 who appeared at Dhaka's District Sessions Court yesterday (18 July), all pleaded not guilty. The remaining six will be tried as fugitives, according to local reports. 

City development authority, RAJUK, has filed another case against 13 people, including Rana, with Savar police charging them for flouting the Bangladesh National Building Code, Bangladesh News 24 reported yesterday. 

Savar police had initially filed a case of 'death due to negligence', accusing 21. But they later brought charges against 41. If found guilty of murder, the defendants could face the death penalty.

The building collapse in Savar, outside the capital Dhaka, sparked demands for greater safety in the world's second-largest exporter of ready-made garments. But despite factory safety concerns, the country's clothing industry has largely continued to build momentum as a low-cost sourcing destination. 

Since the collapse, two major industry-backed remedial plans, together with one supported by the government, have worked to resolve issues over safety and worker rights, including the closure of some garment factories.

However, two recent fatal terrorist attacks in Dhaka have now left the country's key garment industry in turmoil, with some buyers rethinking travel plans and potential economic fallout for a sector reliant on foreign investment.

Second Bangladesh attack renews safety fears