Six people will be charged in court for their role in a stampede that led to the death of 131 people, Indonesian police have said.
They would be charged with criminal negligence causing death, which carries a maximum five-year prison sentence if found guilty.
Saturday’s stampede at in the Malang region of East Java was among the world’s worst sporting disasters, as hundreds of football fans tried to flee a stadium riot and the firing of tear gas by police, leading to a crush worsened by several locked exits.
National Police chief Listyo Sigit Prabowo said the suspects include the head of PT Liga Indonesia Baru, which administers the country’s top professional soccer division and is responsible for ensuring that stadiums have proper operating certificates.
He said the stadium in Malang city did not meet the requirements for certification and had not been properly verified.
Prabowo said charges are also being brought against the chief executive of the match, the chief security officer and three police officers.
He said the Malang police head of operations is believed to have known that FIFA, the international soccer governing body, has advised against the use of tear gas in stadiums.
“However, he did not prevent or prohibit the use of tear gas when securing the match,” Prabowo said in a televised news conference.
He said the two other police officers had ordered their subordinates to fire the tear gas. There were 11 officers who actually fired the gas, causing widespread panic as spectators tried to escape, he said.
There were delays in unlocking Gates 3, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, where many fans were crushed.
“The gates should be opened five minutes before the match ends. When they were opened, the openings were only 1.5 meters (4.9 feet) wide, and the gate stewards were not in their positions,” Prabowo said.
“In our investigation, we found there was no emergency plan to handle special cases as is required in the Football Association of Indonesia’s 2021 security and safety regulations,” Prabowo said.
The government had set up a fact-finding team in hopes of revealing the culprits of the deadly stampede, among the deadliest football-related tragedy since the crush in Peru in 1964.
The investigation comes as President Joko Widodo ordered an audit on the stadia across the country to make sure its security is up to code, adding that “locked doors and steep stairs” were key factors in the incident.