An Indonesian court on Thursday jailed a policeman but cleared two other officers of negligence over crowd control measures deployed at a local soccer match that led to one of the world’s deadliest stadium stampedes.
The October 2022 derby in Malang, East Java, between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya ended in chaos with 135 spectators killed, many crushed as they fled for exits after police fired tear gas into the crowd.
Last week, two Arema FC match officials were also jailed for negligence, in the first verdicts over the stampede.
One of the policemen, Hasdarmawan, was on Thursday sentenced to one and a half years in prison, due to what Judge Abu Achmad Shiddqi Hamsya was “his negligence in causing people to die or sustain severe injuries.”
Authorities had earlier said Hasdarmawan had ordered police to fire tear gas, which soccer’s world governing body FIFA has banned as a crowd control measure.
An investigation by Indonesia’s human rights commission found the main cause of the stampede was police firing into the crowd 45 rounds of tear gas. It also said the stadium was filled beyond capacity.
Two other officers, Bambang Sidik Achmadi and Wahyu Setyo Pranoto were cleared of wrongdoing on Thursday and released from custody. Police had earlier said Bambang had given an order to use tear gas and Wahyu had not acted to stop it.
Their lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.
Amnesty International Indonesia criticised their acquittal and said authorities had again failed to provide justice.
“It sends a dangerous message to members of the security forces who may be reassured they can operate with a free hand and zero consequences,” said its director Usman Hamid.
Indonesia’s top soccer league suspended matches for several months following the incident but most games have since resumed, with some fixtures played behind closed doors due to security concerns.
Indonesia is due to hold the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in May.
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