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Bangladesh factory owner's lawyer: He's not liable for fire

DHAKA, Bangladesh -- The owner of a Bangladesh garment factory where more than 100 workers died in a November 2012 fire is not liable for the disaster, and other workers could lose their jobs if he is convicted, his attorney said Monday.

Delwar Hossain, managing director of Tazreen Fashions Ltd., and his wife surrendered to authorities Sunday after being charged with culpable homicide in December. The case is the first of its kind against an owner in Bangladesh's powerful garment industry.

The Tazreen factory outside the capital, Dhaka, produced clothing for retailers including Wal-Mart. Investigators say it had no emergency exits and workers found the gates locked from the outside. Defense lawyer A.T.M. Gous said his client made every effort to keep the factory safe. He also said Hossain continues to employ workers at other factories. "If he is in jail, hundreds of workers will be jobless if those are not run properly."

Hossain was denied bail. Prosecutors countered that he and his wife built the factory violating building codes and did not take adequate safety measures. -- AP

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