3 Charges in Turkey Mine Disaster

 1400082936000-turkey051414-008Turkey’s worst mining disaster, prosecutors arrested three people, including a company manager, on charges of negligence Sunday.

The three were also accused of causing the death of more than one person, a charge that doesn’t imply intent, prosecutor Bekir Sahiner said at a news conference in the western town of Soma, where 301 coal miners were killed in Tuesday’s tragedy.

The arrests follow allegations by miners that the company failed to heed safety concerns and that government inspections had been superficial.Detained for questioning and six were later released, Sahiner said. Prosecutors will now decide whether to charge or release the remaining 16 people in custody.

Sahiner said one of those arrested was the company’s operations manager. The manager is Akin Celik, though Sahiner didn’t identify him by name.

The charges can lead to sentences of between three and 15 years in prison, according to the Turkish penal code.

Other company executives were among the detained as Turkish officials investigate the mining disaster. Sahiner said they included the mine’s technical supervisor, its head of operations, it safety manager, duty managers and a high ranking company executive. The Dogan news agency reported earlier that Ramazan Dogru, general manager of the mine owned by Soma Holding was detained.

mine contained 50 gas sensors and employees were provided with gas masks.

On Saturday, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said rescue workers retrieved the bodies of the last two miners missing in the disaster, putting the death toll at 301. Authorities then sealed the mine entrance with bricks.

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