Indonesia court jails policeman over stadium stampede, clears 2 officers

Indonesia court jails policeman over stadium stampede, clears 2 officers
Flowers and supporters' tributes are placed to pay condolences to the victims of stampede in Malang, East Java province, on October 4, 2022. File photo: Reuters/Willy Kurniawan

Surabaya (Indonesia): An Indonesian court on Thursday jailed a policeman but cleared two other officers of negligence over crowd control measures 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.

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.

Two other officers, Bambang Sidik Achmadi and Wahyu Setyo Pranoto were cleared of wrongdoing and freed by the judge. Their lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

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.

Investigators also said the stadium was filled beyond capacity.

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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