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Indonesia: Authorities fail victims as police officers acquitted of football stadium deaths

© AFP via Getty Images

135 people died after police fired tear gas into crowds at football stadium

Only a handful of people convicted for the disaster caused by security forces

‘The authorities are once again failing to provide justice to victims of excessive force in Indonesia’ - Usman Hamid

Responding to the acquittal of two police officers who faced criminal negligence charges for their alleged role in the Kanjuruhan football stadium stampede that killed 135 people, Usman Hamid, Amnesty International Indonesia’s Executive Director, said:

“The authorities are once again failing to provide justice to victims of excessive force in Indonesia, despite vows in the aftermath of the disaster to hold those responsible to account. Months after a tragedy that shocked the world only a handful of people have been convicted.

“Amnesty Indonesia reiterates its calls to launch a prompt, thorough and independent investigation into the appalling actions of security forces at the stadium, where tear gas was fired into the crowd triggering a stampede at the exits. The families of victims are understandably distraught at the meagre results of the cases, which have fallen far short.

“In Indonesia, there is a deeply entrenched and broad pattern of violence and abuse of power by Indonesian security forces. This tragic case should be a chance to right wrongs and change course, not repeat the same old mistakes. Lack of accountability also sends a dangerous message to members of the security forces who may be reassured that they can operate with a free hand and zero consequences.”

No justice

The court acquitted the chief of operations of the Malang Regency Police and the former head of the Prevention Unit of the Malang Regency Police for their role in the deadly crush triggered by security officers firing tear gas in Indonesia’s Kanjuruhan stadium in October 2022, which left 135 people dead, saying there was not enough evidence to convict them.

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