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Iran charges 20 over building collapse that killed 43

Judiciary says all of the defendants are already in custody, confirms that owner seen by many as responsible died in the construction site disaster

Iranians gather at the site where a ten-storey building collapsed as rescue operations continue in the southwestern city of Abadan on May 24, 2022. (TASNIM NEWS/AFP)
Iranians gather at the site where a ten-storey building collapsed as rescue operations continue in the southwestern city of Abadan on May 24, 2022. (TASNIM NEWS/AFP)

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran has issued indictments against 20 people after the deadly collapse of a building that triggered widespread anti-corruption protests, the judiciary said on Thursday.

The 10-story Metropol building that was under construction in the city of Abadan in southwestern Khuzestan province collapsed on May 23, leading to death of 43 people.

It took emergency services almost two weeks to recover the bodies of those killed in the disaster, one of Iran’s deadliest in years.

The tragedy sparked a series of demonstrations across the country against authorities accused of corruption and incompetence.

At the time, the provincial judiciary said it had arrested 13 people, including Abadan’s mayor and two former mayors in connection with the case.

“Considering the importance of the matter… the case has been carefully evaluated and indictments have been issued against 20 people,” said the judiciary’s Mizan Online website.

“All the defendants in this case are currently in custody with applicable warrants,” it said, without identifying them or specifying what charges they faced.

The judiciary also confirmed the death of the building’s owner, who many had wanted to be held responsible for the collapse.

Iranian media outlets had earlier reported that he was among those who died in the disaster.

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