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Published: Sunday, 2/9/2014

Factory owners surrender in Bangladesh fire

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Two owners of Tazreen Fashions Ltd., Delwar Hossain, center left, and his wife, Mahmuda Akter, right, are escorted by security personnel on Sunday to a court in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The owners of a Bangladesh garment factory where 112 workers died in a fire two years ago surrendered on Sunday and sought bail after they were charged with homicide. Two owners of Tazreen Fashions Ltd., Delwar Hossain, center left, and his wife, Mahmuda Akter, right, are escorted by security personnel on Sunday to a court in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The owners of a Bangladesh garment factory where 112 workers died in a fire two years ago surrendered on Sunday and sought bail after they were charged with homicide.
ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

DHAKA, Bangladesh — The owners of a garment factory in Bangladesh surrendered to authorities on Sunday to face homicide charges for a 2012 fire at the plant that killed 112 workers.

Police filed homicide charges in December against 13 people in connection with the fire at the Tazreen Fashions Ltd. factory, including the owners, Delwar Hossain and his wife, Mahmuda Akter.

Arrest warrants were issued for six of the accused who police said had fled, including the owners.

The November, 2012, fire was one of several disasters that have exposed harsh and unsafe working conditions in Bangladesh’s lucrative garment industry. A factory collapse last April killed more than 1,100 workers.

After Mr. Hossain and Ms. Akter turned themselves in, a court in the capital, Dhaka, rejected their bail petition and ordered them to be jailed.

If found guilty, they face a minimum of seven years and up to life in prison, prosecutor Anwarul Babul said. Four are still at large.

The factory made clothing for major retailers including Wal-Mart. It had no emergency exits and its location in a narrow alley prevented firefighters from responding quickly, Mr. Babul said.

The inquiry found that when the fire broke out, managers and security guards told workers it was part of a regular drill. Workers found the gates locked from outside as the fire engulfed the building, the probe found.



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