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Manama collapsed building owner to face charges

Rooms crammed with workers in violation of law; collapse attributed to gas cylinder blast

Manama: The owner of the building that collapsed on Tuesday in Manama, killing four people and injuring 28, is remanded in custody for seven days, Public Prosecutor Nawaf Al Awadi said.

The arrest was made after the criminal investigation laboratory, the crime scene investigation unit, civil defence and occupational safety specialists investigated the area to prepare their technical reports and note violations, he added.

The landlord was questioned over the charges levelled at him and violations of the building that resulted in the death and injury of residents, the prosecutor said.

The case will be taken to the criminal court after the investigation is completed.

The collapse of the building on Tuesday evening was attributed to a gas cylinder blast in a kitchen.

Bangladesh’s Ambassador to Bahrain, Mominur Rahman, said two of the deceased had been identified as Bangladeshi citizens and that the embassy had contacted their families.

He added in a statement that the other two fatalities have not been identified, and that the residents in the buildings were Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis.

The old building had seven rooms on the ground floor, 10 on the first floor and three on the second floor. Witnesses said the rooms were crammed with workers, in a blatant violation of the labour law.

Migrant Work Protection Society President Marietta Dias said that the owners of such buildings should be held legally accountable.

Indian Ambassador to Bahrain Alok Kumar Sinha said there were Indian nationals being treated at the hospitals where the injured were taken. Some other Indians had been evacuated from the flats adjacent to the collapsed building.

The civil defence used a drone and dogs to help with the massive search and rescue operation, launched shortly after tragedy hit.

Dozens of injured residents were taken to hospital, some in critical condition. However, those who were staying illegally in the country opted to avoid going for medical treatment for fear of being caught.

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