Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana and a dozen government officials have been charged with murder over the building’s collapse in 2013, which killed more than 1,100 people.
A total of 41 people have been charged at the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court in Dhaka, Bangladesh, including seven owners of the individual factories housed in the complex.
They have been accused of ignoring warnings not to allow workers into the building the day before it collapsed. If convicted, they could face the death penalty.
A spokesman for the High Commission for Bangladesh in London told Drapers: “The government has made this a high priority case because they want it to serve as a warning to other people with factories similar to Rana Plaza.”
An initial hearing will take place on June 28, but the spokesman said: “Because so many people are involved and the judge will need to listen to both sides, there is no telling how long the trial will go on for.”
April 24 marked the second anniversary of the 2013 tragedy, when the eight-storey building in Dhaka collapsed, killing 1,134 workers and injuring 2,378 others. A number of UK and Irish retailers including Primark, Matalan and Bonmarché were linked to the factory.
Last week two garment factories – Concord Fashion Export and Jeacon Garments, both based in the same building in Dhaka – were the first to be declared safe under the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a legally binding agreement signed by a group of retailers and organisations in May 2013 to prevent a repeat of the disaster.
Around 190 retailers, including Arcadia, John Lewis, River Island and Marks & Spencer, have signed up to the scheme.