SURABAYA: An Indonesian court jailed a police officer for 18 months on Thursday (Mar 16) over negligence contributing to one of the worst stadium disasters in the history of football.
Last year’s crush in the city of Malang killed 135 people – including more than 40 children – after a 3-2 defeat for Arema FC by their fierce East Javan rivals Persebaya Surabaya.
When supporters invaded the pitch of the Kanjuruhan Stadium, police fired tear gas, causing a deadly stampede.
The man jailed on Thursday, Hasdarmawan – who like many Indonesians goes by one name – was a commander for East Java police’s mobile brigade unit.
“(The court is) sentencing the defendant, Hasdarmawan, to one and a half year in prison,” presiding judge Abu Achmad Sidqi Amsya told the court in Surabaya, capital city of East Java.
“The defendant failed to predict a situation that was actually quite easy to anticipate. There was an option not to fire (the tear gas) to respond to the supporters’ violence.”
The sentence was shorter than the three years prosecutors had asked for.
Hasdarmawan had previously denied ordering his subordinates to fire tear gas toward the supporters.
Wearing a white shirt and a face mask, Hasdarmawan listened quietly as the judge delivered the sentence.
He has seven days to file an appeal.