Indonesia stadium crush trial begins


Indonesian stadium disaster goes to trial Image: Rizky Wahyu Permana (

Five Indonesian men charged with negligence leading to one of the worst stadium disasters in football history appeared in court by video link on January 16th as their trial began.

‘FRANCE 24’ stated that the stampede in October last year in the East Java City of Malang (Indonesia) – which killed 135 people, including more than 40 children – came after the police fired tear gas into packed stands when supporters invaded the pitch at the end of a match between rivals Arema F.C. and Persebaya Surabaya -Indonesian professional football clubs.

A stampede at the 42,449-capacity Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang Regency, East Java, Indonesia killed 125 people and injured more than 320 after police used tear gas to quell a pitch invasion in October last year in one of the world’s worst stadium disasters.

Violence broke out after the game ended on the evening of October 1st, 2022 with host Arema F.C. of East Java’s Malang City losing to Persebaya of Surabaya 3-2.

‘FRANCE 24’ further stated that hundreds of people fled towards the narrow exits, resulting in a crush that left many trampled or suffocated to death.

Three local police officials, a match organizer and a security official were all charged with negligence for their role in the disaster.

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 January 16th, 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 F.C. supporters not to travel to Surabaya (City in Indonesia) for the trial, for fear of clashes with the police or rival fans.

Police described the October 1st pitch invasion as a riot and said two officers were killed, but survivors accused the police of using “excessive force”.

They were seen kicking and beating pitch invaders before indiscriminately firing tear gas rounds into the stands, despite football’s world governing body FIFA outlawing the use of such riot control methods at stadiums.

Indonesia’s National Police sacked the police chiefs of Malang City and East Java province after the tragedy.

The Government also suspended all competitive football games after the disaster, but league matches resumed in December 2022 without fans in the stands.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered an investigation into what happened and pledged to demolish and rebuild Arema’s Kanjuruhan Stadium according to FIFA standards.

The task force investigating the stampede called on the football association chief and all its executive committee members to resign, but they have refused to do so.

The stampede was one of the world’s deadliest stadium disasters since 320 people were killed in a crush at a football match in Peru in 1964.

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