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Lawyer: Owners not liable for fire

on February 10, 2014 10:00 AM

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — The owner of a Bangladesh garment factory where more than 100 workers died in a fire is not liable for the disaster, and other workers could lose their jobs if he is convicted, his attorney said today.

Delwar Hossain, managing director of Tazreen Fashions Ltd., and his wife surrendered to authorities Sunday after being charged with culpable homicide in December. The case is the first of its kind against an owner in Bangladesh’s powerful garment industry, which has a huge influence in the country’s affairs from politics to sports.

The Tazreen factory, located outside the capital, Dhaka, produced clothing for major retailers including Wal-Mart. Investigators say it had no emergency exits and workers found the gates locked from the outside.

Defense lawyer A.T.M. Gous said in court today that his client made every arrangement to keep the factory safe. He also said Hossain continues to employ workers at other factories.

The November 2012 fire was one of several deadly disasters that have exposed harsh and unsafe working conditions in Bangladesh’s garment industry.

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