Three years after the disastrous blaze at Tazreen Fashions that claimed the lives of 112 garment workers, a Bangladesh court on Thursday finally charged more than a dozen people with homicide. Among those accussed are the two factory owners Delwar Hossain and his wife Mahmuda Akte as well as eleven managers and security guards. The factory at the outskirts of Dhaka produced readymade garments for international buyers, among them German textile discounter Kik. According to public prosecutor Khandakar Abdul Mannan, the trial will start on October 1, 2015.
The owners, accused of negligent behaviour when a fire completely destroyed the factory in November 2012, are pleading "not guilty". If convicted, they could face a lifetime of inprisonment. That fateful day, 112 garment workers died and more than 200 were injured. Surviving workers later stated that after the fire broke out, they were not able to flee as the building's main exits had been blocked.
The fire that ravaged Tazreen Fashions on November 4, 2012 is still Bangladesh's worst industrial blaze. What makes it so tragic is that many deaths could have been avoided. Many workers died after being ordered by supervisors - citing dire consequences - to return to their work stations even after fire alarms rang and and smoke rose through an internal staircase.