Turkey coal mine disaster trial to begin in April

Turkey coal mine disaster trial to begin in AprilMining executives believed to be somehow responsible of Turkey’s worst mine disaster in history, which claimed 301 lives in the country's western Soma region last year, will stand trial in April.

According to Agence France Presse, eight of Soma Mining’s managers are facing life imprisonment and have been in pre-trial detention since May 2014. The group includes the coal company’s chief executive, Can Gurkan, who is also the son of the Soma's owner.

Other 37 suspects, including company employees, have also been charged with involuntary manslaughter and face between two to 15 years in prison if found guilty.

Several expert reports pointed to a number safety violations at the mine, including a shortage of carbon monoxide detectors, ceilings made of wood instead of metal, and a lack of high-quality gas masks. Carbon monoxide poisoning, in fact, was what it killed most of the miners.

The disaster reignited concerns over lax safety in a country with the highest rate of workplace fatalities in Europe, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Following the accident, Turkey’s government introduced a new action plan to improve safety in the country's mines.

Image from WikiMedia Commons.