Bangladesh Supreme Court lifts ban on 'Rana Plaza' movie about garment factory disaster

The Supreme Court in Bangladesh has lifted a ban on the screening of a movie about a garment worker who was rescued from the rubble 17 days after a factory building collapsed in 2013, killing more than 1,000 people.

In response to an appeal by the movie's producer, a four-member panel of judges led by Chief Justice Surendra Kumar Sinha decided late Sunday to stay a previous High Court order that banned the release of the movie for six months.

Producer Shamima Akhter argued that the movie should be released as the country's Film Censor Board had earlier approved the screening of the film after cutting some scenes in response to previous court directives.

The film's director, Nazrul Islam Khan, has argued that the real-life story of Reshma Begum depicts courage amid tragedy.

Last month, the High Court banned "Rana Plaza" after a petition was submitted alleging that the movie has scenes of horror, cruelty and violence that could negatively affect workers in the country's vital garment industry.

Lawyers said the ruling means there are no more bars to releasing the movie, although it is not clear when that will happen.

The April 2013 disaster killed 1,135 people, with thousands more rescued from the ruins of the illegally built complex that contained five factories that supplied garments to international companies.

When the building began collapsing, Begum said she raced down a stairwell into the basement, where she became trapped in a pocket of space. She managed to survive after finding some dried food and bottles of water. She now works in a hotel.

The collapse triggered international criticism, and many big brands came forward to help Bangladesh improve work and safety conditions in its garment sector.

The collapse of the building is thought to have been caused by overloading of its structure with machines and generators. The building was constructed on swampy land and the owner illegally added floors.

Bangladesh earns about $25 billion annually from garment exports, mainly to the United States and Europe, although the country has one of the lowest minimum wages in the world of about $72 a month.

The industry employs about 4 million workers, mostly women from rural areas.