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Report: Life in prison sought for suspects in Bangladesh collapse

Report: Life in prison sought for suspects in Bangladesh collapse
Sohel Rana, center, the owner of a building that collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people, is brought to court in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (Associated Press)

A government inquiry in Bangladesh will recommend life in prison for nine people arrested in connection with the deadly collapse of a garment factory complex just outside the capital, Dhaka, according to a report Tuesday by the Reuters news agency.

At least 1,127 people were killed when the massive Rana Plaza collapsed April 24. The shocking loss of life has spotlighted miserable working conditions in Bangladesh's apparel industry and renewed calls for reform.

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Mainuddin Khandaker, who heads a committee that is investigating the disaster, told Reuters that "it was nothing but gross negligence of responsibilities" that caused the deaths.

"We asked the government to give the highest punishment to all the accused," Khandaker was quoted as saying.

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Investigators say the eight-story building, with another floor under construction, was built without proper permits and using substandard materials. Garment workers had reported seeing cracks and hearing creaking sounds before the collapse but were allegedly ordered back to work.

Relatives of the dead have filed murder complaints against the building's owner, Sohel Rana, and others arrested in connection with the disaster. Protesters have demanded that they face the death penalty.

The government-appointed panel will recommend that the land on which Rana Plaza was built be sold to create a fund to assist family members and survivors, Reuters reported. It will also ask that factories be inspected and the findings posted at their gates, the report said.

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