In April 2013, Rana Plaza, a building in Bangladesh that contained several clothing factories, collapsed, leaving more than 1,100 people—mainly female workers—dead.
A 2013 report on the incident found that the building was constructed with substandard materials in violation of building codes. The report also said that factory owners urged workers to return to work even after an engineer inspected the building the day before the collapse and deemed it unsafe. The upper stories were illegally constructed and heavy generators installed there caused the building to shake.
This report recommended bringing formal charges against the building owner as well as against the owners of five factories located in the building.
On June 1, 2015, the police in Bangladesh filed formal murder charges against 41 people accused of involvement in the building collapse, including:
- Sohel Rana, the owner of the building
- Rana’s parents
- The owners of several factories in the building
- At least a dozen government officials.
The police also charged 18 people for building code violations. If convicted of the murder charges, the accused could face the death penalty.
The collapse of Rana Plaza led to an international outcry and to a commitment by Western retailers to widespread inspections of Bangladesh’s thousands of clothing factories. But these inspections were hindered by resistance from both factory owners and government officials at every turn.