The owner of the Rana Plaza factory complex that collapsed and killed more than 1,100 workers, Sohel Rana, and 40 others were charged with murder in connection with the collapse, and now more than a dozen of those facing charges have absconded.
A Bangladesh court ordered the arrest of 24 people that were nowhere to be found when it came time to face charges in court, The Guardian reported. A judicial magistrate also ordered the seizure of their assets.
The court accepted charges against four government factory and building inspectors despite their pleas to be absolved under public servant immunity rules as well as seven owners of factories housed in the complex and 12 government officials responsible for safety inspections.
Rana’s parents, who also own the building with him, were charged too, as was the mayor of Savar, the industrial town where Rana Plaza was located, for ignoring violations of building and factory laws.
The day before the April 24, 2013 collapse, an engineer reportedly warned building management that the building was uninhabitable due to uncovered structural cracks. Rana, however, self-deemed it safe and demanded workers be back at their posts. The owner is currently in custody awaiting trial.
Rana and others involved are also charged with violating building codes when additional floors were added to the complex illegally. Rana Plaza was also initially approved to be a shopping center instead of a factory.
If charged the accused could face death sentences.
The police are expected to report on the fugitives’ arrests by Jan. 27 and a trial is slated to start in April next year.