October 14, 2022
JAKARTA – Amnesty International Indonesia has slammed a statement from the National Police earlier this week as failing to show empathy for the victims of the fatal stampede and crush on Oct. 1 at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang, East Java.
National Police spokesperson Insp. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo told a press conference on Tuesday that the use of tear gas could not be linked to the deaths of soccer fans during the Kanjuruhan Stadium disaster. He added that some of the tear gas canisters used at the stadium were expired.
The rights group’s executive director, Usman Hamid, said that although tear gas was categorized as a nonlethal weapon, its use could lead to serious injuries that could be fatal.
“Especially if the tear gas was fired in a stadium packed with thousands of spectators [that has] only a few exits,” Usman said in a statement.
The overcrowded stadium was still full of spectators following the match between home team Arema FC and Persebaya when security forces launched tear gas into the stands. This resulted in a stampede and crush that killed more than 131 spectators, including children, as people rushed to the stadium exits to escape the gas.
Amnesty also called on the police to disclose the type of tear gas used to disperse the crowd at Kanjuruhan.
“The independent fact-finding team needs to find out whether the police use the CN [chloracetanophone] or the CS [chlorobenzalmonolonitrile] type. CN [gas] has five times more potency than CS [gas], so its use could be lethal,” Usman said.
The use of tear gas in a stadium is prohibited under the Stadium Safety and Security Regulations of FIFA, soccer’s world governing body.