Legal Aid Laments Systematic Silencing Amid Deadly Football Inquiry

6 October 2022 20:12 WIB

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) and 17 nationwide legal aid offices argued that there is a systematic attempt to silence and cover up the human rights violations from the investigation of the Kanjuruhan Stadium tragedy, which claimed the lives of 131 football fans who were present at the stadium. 

Hundreds of fans were crushed in a mass stampede that ensued after security personnel shot multiple tear gasses at the packed crowd in an attempt to disperse the fans invading the field. Many met their fate as they panicked and fled their seats, and were subjected to police tear gas. 

Head of the Advocacy Division of the Indonesian Legal Aid Foundation (YLBHI) Zainal Arifin said YLBHI, LBH Pos Malang, and LBH Surabaya recorded several incidents that led to systematic intimidation through arrests and illegal investigations allegedly carried out by security forces.

The allegation is based on complaints and media monitoring. The incident was experienced by Aremania – a term for fans of Arema FC which played against Persebaya Surabaya on that fateful night– and local residents who saw or were in the place or at least around the scene.

"We view this as an attempt to silence the witness' efforts to explain the truth of the human tragedy that claimed hundreds of lives," said Zainal Arifin in a written statement on October 6.

YLBHI said the first assumption was that there were traders who were afraid when they met journalists from a television station. Because previously there were traders who were picked up by the security forces for giving information to journalists.

The second suspicion is that there was an illegal arrest and examination of witness “K” after he uploaded a video during the seconds of the incident, which was eventually found by the victim's family at the Malang Police.

Third, there is a banner that reads “Investigating the Tragedy of KANJURUHAN 1 OCTOBER 2022” which has been installed in almost all Jalan Raya Malang by unknown people. Fourth, the emergence of narratives blaming the victim (victim blaming), saying that the supporters do not accept defeat and drink alcohol.

"In fact, Aremania who took to the field just wanted to meet the players to give encouragement. And before the game, all security is tight so it is impossible to bring liquors into the stadium as narrated," said Zainal.

EKA YUDHA SAPUTRA

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