Victims' families pressed to sign deal

The families were still mourning relatives lost in the crash of Lion Air Flight 610 in Indonesia when they were herded into a hotel conference room a few weeks after the crash. Sign this form, they were told by employees of the low-cost carrier, and they would receive 1.3 billion rupiah, or $91,600.

For those who lost breadwinners in the crash on Oct. 29, 2018, the money, government-mandated compensation for loss of life in an aviation accident, was welcomed.

But that amount was roughly the minimum they were entitled to receive under Indonesian law. To collect the money, families had to sign a pledge that they would not pursue legal action against Lion Air, its financial backers and insurers, as well as Boeing, which manufactured the plane.

Yet an Indonesian aviation act from 2011 specifies that when heirs receive the government-mandated payment, they do not give up their right to pursue legal action against a carrier or other entities that may have been involved in an air accident.

"It could be that the company is trying to be tricky," said Ahmad Sudiro, dean of the law faculty at Tarumanagara University in Jakarta. "This signing has no jurisdictional basis but this is what the company is trying to force the families to do."New York Times