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Bangladesh court jails Rana Plaza owner for three years

Graft conviction first punishment from slew of charges Sohel Rana still faces, including murder

Bangladesh court jails Rana Plaza owner for three years

A group of garment workers demand compensation and rehabilitation for Rana Plaza victims in this April 24, 2015. (ucanews.com photo)

 

 

August 31, 2017

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A Bangladeshi court has sentenced the owner of a garment factory complex to three years in prison, the first conviction from a slew of charges leveled against him following the collapse of the Rana Plaza building that killed more than 1,130 workers in 2013.

A special court in Dhaka convicted Sohel Rana, 40, on Aug. 29 for failing to declare his personal wealth to the country's Anti-Corruption Commission.

Rana, a former member of Jubo League, the youth movement of the ruling Awami League faces four other charges including murder in connection with the disaster. He and 37 others could receive the death penalty if found guilty.

He and the managers of five factories are accused of forcing people to work in the eight-story complex at Savar, near Dhaka on the day it collapsed, despite visible cracks and warnings from engineers to shut the building down.

Rana became 'public enemy number one' when news of the collapse and the fatalities spread. He was arrested four days after the tragedy in a border area while attempting to flee to India.

He is also accused of constructing the building illegally, and along with 17 others face charges of violating building codes.

Father Albert T. Rozario, convener of Justice and Peace Commission of Dhaka Archdiocese welcomed the Aug. 29 ruling.

"People might think he got a lenient sentence, but it's just the beginning," Father Rozario, told ucanews.com.

"There are garment factory owners who amass wealth by corruption and exploitation of workers. I hope this case will be a milestone and send a strong message to those exploiters that they will face punishment for wrongdoings one day," he added.

 

 

 

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