The opening trial of one of the deadliest-ever stadium disasters in recent memory has gotten underway in Indonesia. At least 135 people died last October when panic at a soccer match in East Java province resulted in a deadly stampede.
The trial in the city of Surabaya on Monday was held via teleconference due to safety concerns. The court was surrounded by hundreds of security personnel.
Five defendants --- three police officers, a security official and a match organizer --- are charged with negligence for their alleged roles. They face a maximum of 5 years in prison if convicted.
The tragedy occurred in the city of Malang on October 1, when fans from the losing team stormed the pitch. Police responded by firing tear gas.
Guidelines set out by soccer's world governing body FIFA on stadium safety bans the use of firearms or tear gas at matches.
A government fact-finding team later concluded that the firing of tear gas was the main cause of the stampede resulting in the high number of deaths.
Families and relatives of the victims gathered at the court.
The father of a victim said, "I hope they'll be punished to the fullest extent, especially those who used tear gas."
Initially, there were six suspects, but one of them remains under police investigation. The trial will continue on Thursday.