Lawsuit against Tazreen Fashions (re factory fire in Bangladesh)

On 24 November 2012, a fire broke out at the Tazreen Fashions garment factory, which manufactured clothes for various international brands. More than 1150 people were inside the factory at the time. 112 employees died and more than 200 were injured in the fire. Fire officials say the blaze broke out in the open-air ground floor, where large mounds of fabric and yarn were illegally stored. Managers and security guards on some floors reportedly ordered employees to ignore the fire alarm and continue to work. Smoke and fire spread throughout the building, and the windows were secured with iron grilles making it impossible for employees to escape. The building itself lacked safety features.

In December 2013, police filed charges against 13 people for arson, culpable homicide not amounting to murder, and death by negligence, which were accepted by the magistrate judge. Among those charged were the factory owners, husband Delowar Hossain wife Mahmuda Akter, as well as factory managers and security guards. A Dhaka court issued arrest warrants on 31 December 2013 after six of the 13 people charged failed to appear in court after the charged were filed. Delowar Hossain and Mahmuda Akter surrendered six weeks after the arrest warrants were issued and were placed in jail. They were denied bail and placed in jail. Mr Hossein denies any responsibility. All of the 13 charged face a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted.

“Tazreen chairperson’s bail scrapped”, Bangladesh News 24 hours, 20 Mar 2014
“Justice for Bangladesh’s Workers”, New York Times, 11 Feb 2014
“Months After Deadly Fire, Owners of Bangladesh Factory Surrender to Court”, Julfikar Manik & Ellen Barry, New York Times, 9 Feb 2014
“Bangladesh Orders Arrest of Factory Owners for Deadly Fire”, AFP in Jakarta Globe, 31 Dec 2013
“Bangladeshi Factory Owners Charged in Fire That Killed 112”, Gardiner Harris, New York Times, 22 Dec 2013
“Bangladesh Finds Gross Negligence in Factory Fire”Julfikar Ali Manik & Jim Yardley, New York Times, 17 Dec 2012

 

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Article
23 November 2016

Bangladesh: Tazreen factory fire - four years on, justice yet to be achieved, Clean Clothes Campaign reports

Author: Clean Clothes Campaign

Four years since the Tazreen factory fire: justice only half done, 24 Nov 2016

Four years since the Tazreen factory fire: justice only half done

Today four years ago, a fire broke out in the Tazreen Fashions garment factory in Bangladesh...113 workers died, many more were injured. They were stitching clothes for Walmart, El Corte Ingles, KiK, C&A and many more western brands...Four years on, we have come a long way. An agreement was reached with C&A to establish a fund which would provide for loss of income payments and long term medical treatment for the survivors and the families of the killed workers…using the methodology developed for the Rana Plaza scheme…Several of the major brands sourcing from the factory paid contributions to the fund…Others continue to refuse to take responsibility... there also is still a long way to go before the struggle for justice for Tazreen workers is won...This case follows a long pattern of failure by the Bangladesh government to take action against garment factory owners....

 

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Article
2 September 2015

Bangladesh court indicts Tazreen Fashions' factory owners over deadly 2012 fire

Author: AFP

Bangladesh court has ordered two garment factory owners and 11 others to stand trial for the deaths of 111 workers in the country’s worst industrial fire. Delwar Hossain and his wife, Mahmuda Akter, were formally charged over the 2012 blaze, which tore through the Tazreen factory on Dhaka’s outskirts, trapping workers who made clothes for western retailers...The November 2012 fire shone an international spotlight on appalling conditions in Bangladesh’s $25bn (£16.4bn) garment industry...Victims of the fire, mostly women who were paid as little as $37 (£24) a month, were overcome by smoke. The factory gates were locked and they were forced to jump from windows on upper floors, police said.

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Article
20 March 2014

Tazreen chairperson’s bail scrapped [Bangladesh]

Author: Bangladesh News 24

...[A] senior magistrate sent [Mahmuda] Akter to prison…and the chief magistrate granted her bail the next day, but the District and Sessions Judge’s Court believes it is a procedural error....At least 112 workers were killed and more than 200 suffered burns when a devastating fire swept through Tazreen Fashions...factory on Nov 24, 2012...[P]olice [are]...holding 13 responsible for the tragedy [including Akter]. They have been charged with manslaughter and death caused by negligence...On Feb 9...the...Senior Judicial Magistrate...sent Tazreen chairperson Akter and her husband Delwar Hossain, who is the company's managing director, to prison after the couple surrendered. The Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court granted Akter conditional bail the next day...On Feb 12, the prosecution pleaded to the District and Sessions Judge’s Court to scrap Akter’s bail...

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Article
11 February 2014

Justice for Bangladesh’s Workers

Author: New York Times

The owners of a Bangladeshi factory, Tazreen Fashions, where a fire killed 112 workers in late 2012, surrendered to the police on Sunday and are expected to face trial on charges of negligence...Fires in factories have killed hundreds of garment workers in Bangladesh in recent years. Yet legal experts say the owner of Tazreen, Delowar Hossain and his wife, Mahmuda Akther, who was also a director at the company, may be the first executives in the country to be charged with a crime related to a factory fire...Initially, the police in Bangladesh said that they did not have enough evidence to bring a case against Mr. Hossain. But a court ordered officials to investigate further after human rights activists filed a lawsuit...Mr. Hossain has denied any responsibility and said he plans to plead not guilty...[Refers to H&M, Gap, Walmart]

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Article
9 February 2014

Months After Deadly Fire, Owners of Bangladesh Factory Surrender to Court

Author: Julfikar Ali Manik & Ellen Barry, New York Times

A husband and wife whose factory in Bangladesh was consumed by fire in 2012...that killed 112 employees, surrendered to a court...[M]ore than a year after the fire, the police filed charges of culpable homicide against the owners of the Tazreen factory— Delowar Hossain, and his wife, Mahmuda Akther, along with 11 associates...Mr. Hossain’s lawyer...whose motion for bail was rejected...argued that Mr. Hossain and Ms. Akther were not present at the time of the fire and had “neither direct involvement nor indirect involvement” in it. Mr. Gous said he would appeal the denial of bail. A state prosecutor...argued that the owners had failed to make the necessary arrangements to ensure the safety and security of the workers...[A] high-level government investigation...accused Mr. Hossain of “unpardonable negligence,”...Mr. Hossain said he intended to plead not guilty...

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Article
31 December 2013

Bangladesh orders arrest of factory owners for deadly fire

Author: AFP

A Bangladesh court Tuesday ordered the arrest of owners of a garment factory where 111 workers were killed last year in the country's worst such fire...The court...issued the warrants for Delwar Hossain,...Mahmuda Akter and four others over the blaze that gutted the Tazreen factory where workers stitched clothes for Western retailers including Walmart...[P]rosecutor Anwarul Kabir...[said,] "The owners and 11 others have been charged with arson, culpable homicide not amounting to murder and death by negligence"...The arrest order signals a toughening stand by local authorities against influential garment manufacturers, who openly flout safety rules... Some of the retailers have refused to compensate...workers injured in the fire and families of workers killed, arguing that their orders to suppliers...were illegally diverted to the Tazreen factory. Despite the charges and the arrest warrants, unions said it was unlikely the owners would face tough punishment... [also refers to C&A, ENYCE (part of Sean John)]

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Article
23 December 2013

Bangladeshi Factory Owners Charged in Fire That Killed 112

Author: Gardiner Harris, New York Times

The police in Bangladesh charged the owners of a garment factory and 11 of their employees with culpable homicide in the deaths of 112 workers in a fire last year that came to symbolize the appalling working conditions in the country’s dominant textile industry. The case is the first time the authorities have sought to prosecute factory owners in Bangladesh’s garment industry, so powerful that the state has long sought to protect owners from unionization efforts by workers and from international scrutiny of working conditions..

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Article
17 December 2012

Bangladesh Finds Gross Negligence in Factory Fire

Author: Julfikar Ali Manik & Jim Yardley, New York Times

Criminal charges for “unpardonable negligence” should be brought against the owner of the Bangladesh garment factory where a fire killed 112 people...according to a preliminary report from a government inquiry...Mr. Hossain [the owner] could not be reached for comment...“We have also found unpardonable negligence of midlevel officials at the factory,” Mr. Khandaker [the official who led the inquiry] said. “They prevented workers from coming down. We recommend taking proper legal measures against them.”...Mr. Khandaker listed a host of violations at Tazreen Fashions...Moreover...the factory lacked a required fire safety certificate. It had applied for an annual renewal, but a certificate had not yet been issued...[Also refers to Sears, Walmart]

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