Police Name Six Suspects in East Java Deadly Crush
Malang. The National Police on Thursday named six suspects including three officers for the post-football match crush that killed at least 131 people at a stadium in the East Java town of Malang last weekend.
However, National Police Chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo appeared to avoid blame on his institution for the crush that occurred after officers tear-gassed football fans to prevent them from invading the pitch.
Listyo said the delay in opening exit gates contributed to the massive death toll after the match between home team Arema Football Club and arch-rival Persebaya Surabaya.
"Exit gates should have been opened five minutes before the match ended. In addition, guards or stewards were nowhere in sight when the incident broke,” Listyo told a news conference in Malang.
The police chief also referred to Indonesian Football Association (PSSI) regulation stating that match stewards should remain at their posts before spectators leave the stadium.
The chaos created crushes at locked gates for almost 20 minutes, “leading to many casualties”, Listyo said.
The six suspects include Liga Indonesia president Akhmad Hadian Lukita, match organizing committee chairman Abdul Haris, Arema FC security officer Suko Sutrisno, Malang Police operation head Comr. Wahyu Setyo Pranoto, Malang Police rapid reaction unit head Adjunct Comr. Bambang Sidik Achmadi, and a East Java Police’s mobile brigade (Brimob) member Adjunct Comr. Hasdarman.
They are charged with negligence that causes the death or injuries of other people, with a maximum punishment of five years in prison.
Security experts and news anchors have questioned the use of tear gas by security officers because it prompted people to run in panic into the exits.
Local health officials said most of the victims died from suffocation likely from tear gasses and the stampede during the chaos that ensued.
The government said 33 children aged between four and 17 are among the deaths.
The PSSI estimated that the Oct. 1 match was attended by at least 42,000 Arema fans, while Persebaya was not allowed to bring its supporters.Tags: