Arema FC security officer Suko Sutrisno and organizer Abdul Haris (r) in the courtroom of their trial on September 3rd

Two club officials were jailed for criminal negligence in the stadium disaster

Two football club officials have been jailed over the crowds at the Indonesian stadium last October that killed 135 people.

The scramble at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java, came after police fired tear gas at fans who were encroaching on the field and others who were in the stands.

It is the second largest football disaster in history.

On Thursday, an Indonesian court found the organizers of hometown club Arema FC guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

Abdul Haris, the chairman of the home club organizing committee, was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

The club’s security officer Suko Sutrisno was sentenced to one year.

The judge said club officials failed to take proper security measures.

The convictions are Indonesia’s first decisions on the tragedy, which left more than 600 people injured.

Three police officers are also on trial and are accused of ordering their subordinates to fire tear gas at supporters in the stands and on the field.

Following Thursday’s verdicts, the victims’ families expressed disappointment at what they believed to be lenient sentences. The public prosecutor’s office had urged six years in prison.

“The verdict does not reflect reality. This is about the killing of 135 lives,” said Devie Athok, who lost his two daughters and ex-wife.

Arema FC security officer Suko Sutrisno bows his head as he awaits his sentencing in court on September 3

Arema FC security officer Suko Sutrisno was sentenced to one year in prison

Dozens of children were among those killed that night when fans were caught in a deadly scrum trying to leave the stadium.

An independent investigation last year found that the crush had been sparked by police firing tear gas into the stands – a crowd control measure banned by FIFA.

Many families and young people attended the game between Arema FC and its arch-rivals Persebaya Surabaya.

The two East Java clubs had a long history of violence between fans – so the organizers had already imposed restrictions that night, including additional police and restricting ticket sales to fans of the home team.

But the judge said organizers had also sold thousands of tickets beyond the stadium’s capacity and ignored blocked exits. He said the security guard also did not have a clear understanding of his duties.

A sentencing date for the trial of the accused police officers has not yet been set by the Indonesian courts.

The trials have been criticized by civil rights activists and human rights groups for being held in a closed court – with victims’ families saying the trials lack transparency.

Since the beginning of the trial in January, there have been regular protests in front of Kanjuruhan Stadium and the headquarters of Arema FC.

The Kanjuruhan disaster was a major source of national mourning in Indonesia. It is the second-deadliest soccer disaster in history after the 1964 stampede in Lima, Peru, which killed 328 people.

A report by Indonesian human rights organization Komnas HAM last year ruled that the tragic incident had been sparked by police tear gas.

The report also cited other factors, including the stadium’s overcapacity and a push by league officials to hold the game at night to attract higher television ratings.

Indonesia’s government has said it is working with Fifa on a security review of the country’s stadiums – but critics say little progress has been made so far.

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