Garuda crash verdict sparks strike threat

Indonesian pilots may strike over a court\'s decision to jail a Garuda captain for negligence over a crash that killed 21 people, including five Australians.

Indonesian pilots are threatening to strike in protest at a court\'s decision to jail a Garuda captain for negligence over a crash that killed 21 people, including five Australians.

Marwoto Komar\'s Boeing 737 slammed onto the runway at Yogyakarta airport, careered into a field and burst into flames on March 7, 2007.

After a lengthy trial, Komar was found guilty this month of criminal negligence and sentenced to two years in prison.

Stephanus Gerrardus, chief of the Garuda Pilots\' Association, has said Komar\'s trial was "a mess" and it had set a dangerous precedent of criminalising pilots.

"Our main concern is this decision could actually disturb aviation safety," Gerrardus told AAP.

"Imagine how hard it would be for a pilot to perform his duty when he\'s burdened with something like this.

"It makes pilots doubtful, and could lead to mistakes.

"If we don\'t get any attention on this, no correction on this, we will not hesitate to strike.

Komar\'s lawyer, Mohammad Assegaf, said he still intends to appeal the verdict.

"We just got the copy of the judge\'s decision a few days ago," he said.

"So, we are going to study it first before we arrange the draft for (the appeal).

"We\'ve formed a team to do this."

Manotar Napitupulu, president of the Indonesian Pilots Federation, said pilots would wait to see the outcome of the appeal before striking.

"Hopefully, the decision will be something better," he said.

"But if it\'s the same or worse, then let\'s see."

Source: AAP

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