By Ruma Paul
DHAKA Feb 9 Two fugitive owners of a Bangladesh
garment factory turned themselves in on Sunday to face homicide
charges for the deaths of 112 workers in the country's worst
factory fire, a prosecutor said.
The owners of Tazreen Fashions, Delwar Hossain and his wife
Mahmuda Akter, were sent to jail after being refused bail. They
were among six fugitives wanted in connection with the Nov. 24,
2012, fire on the outskirts of the capital, Dhaka.
Many of those who died in the multi-storey building perished
because supervisors ordered workers back to their stations even
as an alarm rang and smoke rose through an internal staircase.
A state prosecutor, Anwarul Kabir, said the couple had
pleaded for bail after surrendering.
"The court sent them to jail after rejecting their bail
petition," Kabir said.
Witnesses said several hundred people gathered at the court
and chanted for the pair to be given the death penalty. If
convicted, they could face life in prison.
In all, 13 people were charged in connection with the
disaster, a rare step in a country where critics complain that
powerful garment industry bosses often go unpunished for factory
The charges included breaching construction rules, such as
the failure to provide two emergency exits.
Bangladesh, the world's second-largest apparel exporter
after China, in December raised wages for garment workers and
allowed workers to form trade unions in July after a string of
factory accidents thrust poor pay and conditions into the
The $22 billion export industry, which supplies many Western
brands, came under scrutiny when a building housing factories
collapsed in April, five months after the Tazreen fire, killing
more than 1,130 people.
The owner of that building that collapsed, Mohammed Sohel
Rana, was arrested after a four-day hunt as he appeared to be
trying to flee across the border to India.
After the Tazreen blaze, both Wal-Mart Stores inc WMT.N and
Sears Holdings Inc said that goods were being
manufactured for them at the factory though both had denied it
authorisation as a supplier.