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Protesters take part in a demonstration by the leftist Turkish Youth Union to protest the 301 deaths of the Soma coal mine accident and demand the Turkish prime minister's resignation, in Ankara, on May 19, 2014/AFP

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Turkey charges mining company CEO, two more, over disaster

 Protesters take part in a demonstration by the leftist Turkish Youth Union to protest the 301 deaths of the Soma coal mine accident and demand the Turkish prime minister's resignation, in Ankara, on May 19, 2014/AFP

Protesters take part in a demonstration by the leftist Turkish Youth Union to protest the 301 deaths of the Soma coal mine accident and demand the Turkish prime minister’s resignation, in Ankara, on May 19, 2014/AFP

ANKARA, May 20 – Turkey has charged three more people with manslaughter over the country’s worst mining disaster, including the CEO of the company operating the pit, reports said on Tuesday.

Can Gurkan, the chief executive of mining company Soma Komur, general manager Ramazan Dogru and a technician were the latest to face manslaughter charges over the disaster that claimed 301 lives, the private NTV television said.

A total of eight officials from Soma Komur have now been charged over last Tuesday’s accident at the Soma mine that sparked anti-government protests in several towns and cities.

Gurkan and other company executives have denied any responsibility for the disaster.

According to the International Labour Organisation, Turkey had the highest number of work deaths in Europe in 2012, and the third highest in the world. From 2002 to 2012, more than 1,000 Turkish miners have been killed.

The lead prosecutor in Soma, Bekir Sahiner, ruled out on Sunday that an electrical fault triggered the fire that spread through the mine.

Rescue operations were suspended on Saturday as information from families suggested that all the bodies had been recovered.

Police have used tear gas and water cannons to disperse large protests in Turkey’s main cities, as well as in Soma.

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