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Indonesian crash victims’ families torn over prospect of criminal charges for Boeing

The US Department of Justice has until July 7 to decide whether to prosecute Boeing executives.

Families of some of the 189 people who were killed when Lion Air flight 610 crashed into the Java Sea in Indonesia in 2018 told This Week in Asia that they had mixed feelings.

Bias Ramadhan, whose mother Hasna was aboard flight 610, said he doubted that any Boeing executives would be punished for potential fraud.

“Up to this point, they have always managed to get away from their responsibilities. I hope people from Boeing go to jail for what they did, but the realistic side of me knows for sure no one will go to jail,” he said.

“I do support any kind of prosecution against Boeing and I hope for the best.”

The potential charges stem from the company’s alleged breach of a 2021 settlement agreement. Under that deal, Boeing was granted a three-year immunity clause, contingent on fulfilling certain conditions – including overhauling compliance practices and paying US$2.5 billion in penalties and compensation. However, officials reportedly found that Boeing had violated the terms of the agreement earlier this year.

Indonesian journalist Anton Sahadi, whose wife lost her two 24-year-old cousins Riyan Aryandi and Ravi Andrian in the crash, told This Week in Asia that any criminal prosecution was “good and reasonable”.

“This is what should happen in this case and I hope they are prosecuted in accordance with the appropriate laws in the United States,” he said, adding that Boeing executives should have been prosecuted for negligence resulting in death.

Yet not all victims’ families welcomed the news of further litigation.

Neuis Marfuah, whose 23-year-old daughter Vivian Hasna Afifa died in the Lion Air crash, said the new wave of potential legal