Survivors and families of those who died in October’s soccer tragedy feel that the lives of the dead were not respected.
Malang, Indonesia – After Surabaya District Court sentenced a police officer to 18 months in prison – and acquitted two others – for their role in last year’s scramble at Kanjuruhan Stadium, residents of the Indonesian city of Malang feel frustrated and disrespected.
Many chose to stay away from court hearings that week, saying they were too traumatized by what they had witnessed and disillusioned with what they described as a lack of accountability on the part of the authorities.
Two match officials were also jailed last week over the October 2022 scrum, which was sparked by police firing dozens of tear gas shots at the end of a match between local clubs. Fans rushed to the exits only to find that many of the gates were locked. One of the worst stadium disasters in history killed 135 people.
Almost six months later, the congregation is still mourning.
Al Jazeera met some of the survivors and families of those who died that night in Malang to ask how the tragedy affected their lives.
Wiyanto, father of 21-year-old victim Septian Ragil Syahputra Wiyanto
We were so close. We spent time together every day. Pray, hang out after work, smoke cigarettes together and talk about everything.
I still miss him so much. It’s so difficult, I can’t get rid of this trauma. I just can not. I can’t get this over with. I always think of him. My family is traumatized.
His fiancee’s family is also in shock. Three days before the tragedy, as is customary in Java to make such requests, I went with him to their house to ask the family. His fiancee often cries, even now.
I couldn’t go to work for 40 days after his death. I just couldn’t. My office wouldn’t allow it, so I lost my job. More than five months later there is no real punishment. What I wanted was for the people involved in the tear gas shooting to get the punishment they deserve. It’s about the lives of 135 people. Even just an accident or physical injury can result in higher penalties.
i’m just so tired There is no justice for the victims of the Kanjuruhan tragedy. The victims’ families must leave it in God’s hands.
Andik Harianto, survivor whose wife and two daughters died
It’s a very chaotic situation. But what can we do now? I now do everything for our son Rian (2 years and 3 months old) – changing diapers and cleaning him. Some people have asked me to speak to the mayor or the governor. But there is no result.
Our loved ones are gone. If we keep trying to sue people, it will only cause us more pain.
The judgment is not fair. If I hit someone on the street and they break their bones, I would get more jail time than they would in that case. And in this case, many people died.
My biggest concern is for my son. I’m afraid he’s less intelligent than he should be. When his mother was alive, he could count to 10. Now he’s confused. He learned a lot from his mother and sisters, who were very bright children. I don’t know how to teach him. He just wants to be near me.
Nanda Rizky Kurnia Sandi, survivor
I’m still traumatized. I still get chills. I distinctly remember the sound of tear gas being fired. And the sound of people screaming for help. And the bodies are laid down. Their faces – I remember them clearly.
I haven’t watched football in a stadium since Kanjuruhan. My friends asked me to go to other cities to watch football. But I do not want to.
I’ve been following the case closely because 135 lives are at stake. And now it’s like nothing happened.
The football clubs are playing again. The treatment of this case has continued quietly. So calm. The punishment is not enough. We still want justice. Why did the committee sell more tickets than the stadium could hold? And the police, why would they use tear gas? It was so wrong
In May, Indonesia will host the FIFA Men’s Under-20 Tournament. How will security forces deal with foreigners? And how will the Indonesian viewers behave? I worry that the same could happen.
Galih Wahyu Prakoso, survivor, member of Arema Apache Fan Club
I sometimes have flashbacks of what happened when I go to sleep.
I was injured that night, I sprained my knee falling down the stairs. My eyes burned for two weeks and my knee was injured for almost a month.
The scariest thing was when I saw a small child being trampled on. I can’t bear to think about it now. And seeing my friends dead in the hospital.
For me the result is not justice. Even much lighter violations can be punished with eight or nine years in prison.
I blame the organizers and the police. Less than two years in prison is nothing. Why did they shoot tear gas? The fans only showed their feelings. The result means they don’t respect the victims. We’ve lost our friends, how come the punishment is so light?