Rana Plaza Factory Owner and 40 Others Are Being Charged With Murder

Two years after the factory collapse, Bangladesh police are pressing charges.
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Eliza Brooke
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Two years after the factory collapse, Bangladesh police are pressing charges.
A relative of one of the factory workers killed in the Rana Plaza factory collapse on the second anniversary of the disaster. Photo: Munir Uz Zaman/Getty Images

A relative of one of the factory workers killed in the Rana Plaza factory collapse on the second anniversary of the disaster. Photo: Munir Uz Zaman/Getty Images

Over two years after the Rana Plaza factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh collapsed, killing over 1,100, police are charging 41 people with murder. According to the AFP, that includes the factory complex owner Sohel Rana, his parents and a number of government engineers who approved the addition of three levels to the building, which was illegally extended from six to nine stories.

The collapse took place on April 24, 2013. Cracks had appeared in the building the day before, raising alarm from workers and an engineer who inspected the structure, but the owners forced workers to enter under threats to withhold wages if they didn't.

This charge is a long time coming. In May 2013, Bangladesh's Home Ministry carried out an investigation of the circumstances under which the disaster took place, resulting in a 400-page report that found the factory in clear violation of building codes. The report's recommendation, the New York Times reported at the time, was to charge Rana and the other factory owners with culpable homicide. 

This past April, two people injured in and affected by the collapse filed a lawsuit against J.C. Penney, The Children's Place, Wal-Mart — all retailers that produced garments at Rana Plaza — and the country of Bangladesh itself for negligence and wrongful death.