Police Claim Tear Gas Did Not Cause Death in Kanjuruhan Tragedy
TEMPO.CO, Jakarta -
Indonesian Police stated that the victims in the Kanjuruhan football tragedy in Malang died due to a lack of oxygen, instead of tear gas. The police spokesman Insp. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo said this finding was based on experts' statements.
Dedi explained that the investigators had asked for experts' views and concluded that tear gas is not lethal. "Citing the opinion of Made Gegel, a professor from Udayana University who is an expert in toxicology, and Professor Massayu Elita, [the use of] tear gas even on a high scale is not lethal," said Dedi during a press conference at the National Police HQ, Monday, October 10, 2022.
Dedi presented three types of tear gas projectiles used by the police. They have different colors; green, blue, and red. The green projectile emits white smoke, the blue one is at a moderate level, and the red one is used to disperse a large mass.
However, he stopped short of mentioning which projectiles were fired by the police at Kanjuruhan.
Dedi asserted that no victim died due to tear gas as explained by experts and specialist doctors who treated the victims. They died from the lack of oxygen in the crowded stadium. Tear gas, he added, only causes irritation to the eyes, skin, and lungs. An ophthalmologist said the irritation to the eyes is the same as being exposed to soap.
"It hurts but at some time it can heal instantly and does not cause fatal damage. Until now there has been no scientific journal that mentions tear gas fatalities that cause people to die," Dedi explained, adding that the police investigations are still underway.
The statements of the experts conveyed by the police spokesman differed from the results of Amnesty International’s study, which notes that tear gas can cause death if used inappropriately.
Rohini Haar, a researcher from the University of California, Berkeley, in the study stated that breathing tear gas can lead to death because the content in the gas can damage the membranes in the lungs.
The deadly tragedy in Kanjuruhan stadium occurred on Saturday, October 1, 2022, after the BRI League 1 match between Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya. Pitch invasion after the game prompted the police to fire tear gas which led to a crowd crush. At least 131 people died and hundreds were injured.
The National Police Chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo had announced six suspects in the Kanjuruhan Tragedy. They are the director of the league operator PT Liga Indonesia Baru (LIB) Akhmad Hadian Lukita, Chairman of the Organizing Committee Abdul Haris, Security Officer Suko Sutrisno, East Java Police’s Mobile Brigade Commander III Hasdarman, Malang Police’s Head of Operational Wahyu SS, and Malang Police’s rapid response unit (Samapta) head Bambang Sidik Achmadi.
HAMDAN CHOLIFUDIN ISMAIL
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