Probe reveals negligence in Soma mine as number of arrestees rises to seven

Photo: Probe reveals negligence in Soma mine as number of arrestees rises to seven / Turkey

The general manager of the company operating the Soma mine, Ramazan Dogru, was arrested late May 19 as part of a probe into last week's mining disaster that claimed the lives of at least 301 workers, raising the total number of arrests to seven.

Dogru, who was present at the company's press statement last week, is the highest official to be investigated along with Soma Coal Mining Company CEO Can Gurkan, who is also the son of the owner, Alp Gurkan, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Can Gurkan was charged by prosecutors and sent to court May 19 with a demand for arrest.

A technician from the mine in western Turkey was also arrested on May 19 in the investigation which showed that officials had ignored the presence high levels of toxic gas and the rise of the temperature inside the mine hours before the accident.

Four other company officials sent to the court by prosecutors with a demand for arrest, however, were released on probation.

Operating manager Akın Çelik, engineers Yalchın Erdogan and Ertan Ersoy, and shift supervisors Yasin Kurnaz and Hilmi Kazık were arrested after being interrogated May 18 on charges of "causing multiples cases of death by negligence." Eight other people have also been charged but were released on probation pending trial.

Alp Gurkan is not among the suspects list, said Sezgin Tanrıkulu, a deputy from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP).

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