Three charged with manslaughter over Turkey mine disaster

Sunday 18 May 2014 22.32
Relatives gather at the grave of one of the miners killed in the disaster
Relatives gather at the grave of one of the miners killed in the disaster

A Turkish court has charged three people with manslaughter over the mine disaster that killed 301.

The prosecutor in charge of the investigation, Bekir Sahiner, said that 25 people had been arrested and detained and three of them have been charged with manslaughter.

Those arrested include mining company executives and personnel.

The rescue operation at the mine, in the western Turkish town of Soma, ended yesterday after the bodies of the last two workers were carried out.

Police put Soma on virtual lockdown overnight, setting up checkpoints and detaining dozens of people to enforce a ban on protests.

Hundreds of riot police patrolled the streets while others checked identity cards at three checkpoints on the approach road to Soma, witnesses said.

The local governor banned protests in response to clashes on Friday between police and several thousand demonstrators.

Eight lawyers from the Contemporary Jurists Association, including its leader, were handcuffed and detained during the lockdown on suspicion that they had gone to the town to take part in more protests, the private Dogan news agency reported.

Tuesday's disaster has triggered protests across Turkey, aimed at mine owners accused of ignoring safety for profit, and at Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government, seen as too close to industry bosses and insensitive in its response.

Mr Erdogan has presided over a decade of rapid economic growth but worker safety standards have failed to keep pace, leaving Turkey with one of the world's worst industrial accident records.

The plant manager denied any negligence at the mine, which was inspected by state officials every six months.

Keywords: mine, turkey, soma