In total, 41 defendants are facing charges in connection with what is Bangladesh's worst industrial disaster, reports Reuters. Three of those people are accused of assisting plaza owner Sohel Rana in his attempt to flee the country. He was arrested after a four-day manhunt following the disaster.
Rana and 34 other people appeared in court Monday and pleaded not guilty. If convicted, the defendants could be sentenced to death. The remaining six defendants are fugitives and are expected to be tried in absentia.
The collapse of the Rana Plaza complex sparked calls for an improvement of safety standards and factory-worker conditions. It also put pressure on global fashion companies to re-evaluate their sourcing operations in Bangladesh. The country is the world's second largest exporter of readymade garments, and the industry brings in about $28 billion a year.