45 go on trial in Turkey over mining fire which killed 301
Forty-five managers and employees of a mine in western Turkey have gone on trial accused of causing the deaths of 301 miners who perished in a fire last year in Turkey's worst mining disaster.
The defendants include the chief executive and the general manager of mine company Soma Komur Isletmeleri AS. They did not attend the opening of the trial in Ankara today amid security concerns.
Human Rights Watch has welcomed the trial as a step towards justice for the victims but has also called for an investigation into state officials for failing to oversee safety measures.
Inspection reports said the coal had been smouldering for days before the May 13 disaster, releasing toxic gases.
Survivors have complained of poor conditions inside the mine, including a lack of gas masks.