In the October football tragedy, the survivors and the relatives of those who died feel that the lives of the dead have not been respected.
Malang, Indonesia – After the Surabaya District Court sentenced a police officer to 18 months in prison – and acquitted two others – for their role in last year’s crush at Kanjuruhan Stadium, residents of the Indonesian city of Malang say they are frustrated and disrespected.
Many chose to stay away from this week’s trial, saying they were too traumatized by what they had experienced and too disappointed by what they called a lack of accountability by authorities.
Last week, two match referees were also jailed for 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 to the exits, but many gates were locked. About 135 people died in one of the worst stadium disasters in history.
Nearly six months later, the community is still grieving.
Al Jazeera met with 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.
Wiyanto, the father of the 21-year-old victim, Septian Ragil Syahputra Wiyanto
We were so close. We spent time together every day. Praying, hanging out after work, smoking together and talking about everything.
I still miss him so much. It’s so hard I can’t get over this trauma. I just can’t. I can’t leave this behind. I always think about him. My family is traumatized.
Her fiance’s family is also in shock. Three days before the tragedy, I went with them to their house, because Javanese people tend to propose in this way, to ask the family. Her fiance cries often, even now.
I couldn’t go to work for 40 days after he died. 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. I wanted the people involved in the tear gas shooting to get the punishment they deserved. It tells about the lives of 135 people. Even a simple accident or assault can result in higher penalties.
I’m just so tired. There is no justice for the victims of the Kanjuruhan tragedy. The families of the victims must leave it in God’s hands.
Andik Harianto, Survivor, whose wife and two daughters died
It’s a very messy situation. But what can we do now? Now I do everything for our son Rian (2 years and 3 months) – changing diapers and cleaning. Some people have asked me to go and talk to the mayor or the governor. But there is no result.
Our loved ones are already gone. If we want to keep suing people, it will bring us more pain.
The sentence is not fair. If I hit someone on the road and they break a bone, I’d get more time in jail than the people in this case. And in this case, many people died.
My biggest concern is my son. I’m afraid he’s less intelligent than he should be. When her mother was alive, she could count to ten. Now he is confused. He learned a lot from his mother and sister, who were very intelligent 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 still clearly remember the sound of the tear gas being fired. And the voice of the people cries for help. And the bodies are lowered to the ground. Their faces—I remember them clearly.
I haven’t watched football in a stadium since Kanjuruhan. My friends asked me to watch football in other cities. But I do not want to.
I have followed the case closely, because it affects about 135 people. And now it’s as if nothing happened.
Football clubs are playing again. The processing of the case has progressed quietly. So quiet. Punishment is not enough. We still want justice. Why did the committee sell more tickets than there was space in the stadium? And the police, why would they use tear gas? It was so wrong.
In May, Indonesia will host the men’s under-20 FIFA tournament. How do the security forces treat foreigners? And how do Indonesian viewers behave? I fear the same may happen.
Galih Wahyu Prakoso, Survivor, Arema Apache Fan Club Member
I sometimes have flashbacks of the incident when I’m sleeping.
I got hurt that night, I sprained my knee falling down the stairs. My eyes burned for two weeks and my knee hurt for almost a month.
The worst thing was when I saw a small child being trampled. I can’t bear to think about it now. And seeing my friends dead in the hospital.
For me, the end result is not justice. Even much lesser offenses can lead to eight or nine years in prison.
I hold the organizers and the police responsible. Less than two years of imprisonment is nothing. Why did they shoot tear gas? The fans just showed their emotions. The bottom line means they have no respect for the victims. We have lost our friend, why is the punishment so light?