‘I can’t get rid of this trauma’: Fury over Indonesia verdicts
Survivors and families of those who died in the October football tragedy feel the lives of the dead have been disrespected.
Malang, Indonesia – After the Surabaya District Court sentenced a police officer to 18 months in prison – and acquitted two others – for their roles in last year’s crush at the Kanjuruhan stadium, residents in the Indonesian city of Malang say they feel frustrated and disrespected.
Many decided to stay away from this week’s court proceedings, saying they were too traumatised from what they had experienced and too disenchanted with what they called a lack of accountability from authorities.
Two match officials were also jailed last week over the October 2022 crush, which was triggered by police firing dozens of rounds of tear gas at the end of a match between local clubs. Fans rushed for the exits, only to find many of the gates locked. Some 135 people died in what was one of the worst stadium disasters in history.
Almost six months later, the community is still in mourning.
We were so close. We spent time together every day. Praying, hanging out after work, smoking cigarettes together and talking about everything.
I still miss him so much. It’s so difficult, I can’t get rid of this trauma. I just can’t. I cannot put this behind me. I am always thinking about him. My family is traumatised.
The family of his fiancé is also in shock. Three days before the tragedy, I went to their house with him, as it is the Javanese custom to propose like this, to ask the family. His fiancé often cries, even now.
Al Jazeera met some of the survivors as well as relatives of those who died that night in Malang to ask them how the tragedy has shaped their lives.
For 40 days after he died, I couldn’t go to work. I just couldn’t. My office didn’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 connected to the shooting of the tear gas to get the punishment they deserved. It’s about the lives of 135 people. Even just an accident or assault can get higher punishments.
I am just so tired. There is no justice for the victims of the Kanjuruhan tragedy. The families of the victims have to leave it in God’s hands.