Home > Indonesia
Kanjuruhan Stampede Trial Begins With Police, Organisers Facing Negligence Charges
Football fans attend a rally in front of the city hall in Malang on November 10, 2022, demanding Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) to be responsible, fair, transparent, and indiscriminate following the deadly stampede at Kanjuruhan Stadium on October 1 which took 135 lives. (AFP/Juni Kriswanto)
January 17th, 2023 | 10:24 AM | 960 views
SURABAYA, EAST JAVA
A court in Surabaya on Monday began a trial of a handful of police officers and soccer match organisers on charges of criminal negligence for their role in one of the world's deadliest soccer stadium stampedes in East Java last October.
The disaster, in which 135 people died, occurred after a match at Kanjuruhan stadium in Malang, East Java, sparking questions about safety provisions and the use of tear gas, a crowd-control measure banned by soccer's global governing body, FIFA.
The court will hear charges against five people, including three police officials and one security officer, and a match organiser. If found guilty, they face a maximum prison sentence of five years.
The trial is being held via teleconference due to security concerns, said court spokesperson Agung Pranata.
The National Commission on Human Rights, which conducted an investigation into the stampede last November, found police fired 45 rounds of tear gas into the crowd at the end of the match, causing panic that led to the stampede. Investigators concluded that excessive and indiscriminate use of tear gas was the main trigger behind the deadly crush.
The commission said locked doors, an overcapacity stadium and failure to properly implement safety procedures exacerbated the death toll.
A lawyer for the match organiser from Arema, one of the soccer clubs involved in the match, said his client denied all charges.
"If there is negligence it should be on the police, who fired the tear gas, not us," said Sudarman, the lawyer.
Lawyers for the police and security officers on trial were not immediately available for comment.
The suspects face a maximum sentence of five years in prison if found guilty.
A sixth suspect -- a former director of the company that runs Indonesia's premier league -- remains under police investigation.
On Monday, authorities deployed hundreds of security personnel around the court and the trial was held virtually for security reasons.
Outside the courthouse, Rink Hanifah held up pictures of her son Agus Riansyah, one of the victims who went to watch the football match and never returned.
Authorities told Arema FC supporters not to travel to Surabaya for the trial, for fear of clashes with police or rival fans.
After the incident President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo announced that all soccer league matches would be suspended, and that Kanjuruhan stadium would be demolished and rebuilt.
League matches have since resumed in the country, but without any spectators.
Seven families whose relatives died or were injured in the stampede are suing officials they consider responsible, their lawyer said last year.
The civil lawsuit targets eight parties, including Indonesia's football association, the national police, league organiser PT Liga Indonesia Baru, and the owners of Malang football club Arema FC.
President Jokowi is also listed as a co-defendant.
A lawyer representing the families said they were demanding accountability and compensation.
courtesy of THE JAKARTA POST
If you have any stories or news that you would like to share with the global online community, please feel free to share it with us by contacting us directly at [email protected]