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Indonesian match official jailed over deadly soccer stampede

Man found guilty of negligence over tragedy that killed 135 spectators

Part of the aftermath of a riot and stampede inside a soccer stadium in East Java, Indonesia on Oct. 2, 2022.   © Reuters

SURABAYA, Indonesia (Reuters) -- An Indonesian court sentenced a soccer match official to one and a half years in prison on Thursday after finding him guilty of negligence over one of the world's deadliest stadium stampedes.

The October 2022 derby match in Malang, East Java between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya ended in chaos with 135 spectators killed, many crushed as they fled for exits after police fired tear gas into the crowd.

The match official, Abdul Haris, was found guilty "due to his negligence causing people to die," said the judge at the court in Surabaya.

The legal team for the defendant did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

An investigation by Indonesia's human rights commission found the main cause of the stampede was police firing into the crowd 45 rounds of tear gas, which soccer's world governing body FIFA has banned as a crowd control measure.

Another match official is set to hear his verdict later on Thursday, while three police officers are also charged with the same offenses. Their cases will be decided at a later date.

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