TODAY’S – Court accepts indictment against Soma disaster suspects

Court accepts indictment against Soma disaster suspectsA local court accepted an indictment on Monday by a prosecutor implicating 45 people in connection with a mining disaster in Soma that claimed 301 lives on May 13 of last yearThe Akhisar High Criminal Court, which had initially rejected the indictment and sent it back to the Akhisar Public Prosecutorand#39s Office, accepted the document after revisions by the prosecutors involved in the case.On May 13, 2014 Turkey was shocked by an explosion and ensuing blaze at a coal mine in the western province of Manisa, which killed 301 miners and injured scores of others.

A fire that started in the mine rapidly depleted oxygen in the shaft, causing hundreds of miners to die of carbon monoxide poisoning. The Turkish nation was shaken by the incident and received condolences from around the world including from the US, Russia, Iran, Qatar and Israel as well as Greek Cyprus.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Security came under fire for failing to properly inspect safety measures at the Soma mine, and expert reports pointed to substantial negligence leading to the tragedy. According to the reports, there was no refuge chamber in the mine and the mine operator did not provide workers with functioning gas masks.

The reports further noted that the mineand#39s gas sensors had not been inspected, eitherThe Soma Coal Mining Company, which had been operating the mine, denied the allegations of negligence. The company admitted that there was no emergency shelter inside the mine but said one had been under construction when the disaster occurred.

A total of eight people, including a general manager and the chief executive of the mining company, were initially arrested on charges of andldquocausing multiple deaths by negligence.andrdquoProsecutors are seeking to proceed with first-degree murder charges against Soma Holding board chairman Can Gurkan and the other seven senior officials, while prison terms between 32 months and 20 years are being sought for eight other company employees on charges of negligent homicide.

In addition to Gurkan, Operating Manager AkIn elik, General Manager Ramazan DoIru, shift supervisors Yasin Kurnaz, Hilmi KazIk and Ismail AdalI, technical supervisor Ertan Ersoy and mine technician Mehmet Ali Gunay all face 301 consecutive life sentences, a symbolic number chosen to reflect the number of miners who died following the disastrous explosion.YalIn ErdoIan, Ergun YIlmaz, Harun GuneI, CoIkun Derici, Harun YIlmaz, Fuat unal AydIn, Necati Karadeniz and Erdem Canbaz are the company officials who are facing 32 months to 20 years on charges of negligent homicide.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman