Bali Nine: Andrew Chan gets married in prison 24 hours before he is due to be executed

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran could be killed as early as tomorrow despite continuing legal and diplomatic attempts to delay the sentence

Lizzie Dearden
Tuesday 28 April 2015 09:40
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One of the two Australian men condemned to be executed in Indonesia within days has reportedly married his girlfriend in prison.

Andrew Chan, 31, could die as soon as tomorrow and wed in front of a small group of family and friends as his final wish.

His brother was at the ceremony on the high-security Nusakambangan Island in Java, were Mr Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are due to be executed by firing squad.

Michael Chan said his brother married his Indonesian girlfriend, named as Febyanti, on Monday and they still hope they will not be parted.

“It's tough times but it's happy times at the same time,” he told reporters on the mainland.

“We just hope that the president somewhere will find some compassion and mercy for these two, this young couple so they can carry on with their lives.”

Sukumaran, 34, has reportedly requested to spend his last days before his execution painting for as long as possible.

Art has become his passion since being imprisoned in 2005 and he was mentored by award-winning Australian artist Ben Quilty.

His oil paintings have since been exhibited in galleries around the world, including in London at an Amnesty International exhibition marking his birthday earlier this month.

Sukumaran’s lawyer was seen taking his latest works out of the prison on Monday, including a dark piece entitled “Self Portrait. Time is Ticking” showing him against a black background, shot through the heart.

The lawyer for Australian death row inmates Myuran Sukumaran carries a painting after visiting Indonesia's Nusakambangan island on April 26

That is where 12 guns will be aimed if his death sentence is carried out. The condemned are given the choice of standing, sitting or kneeling and then blindfolded before they are shot.

Only three guns are loaded with live ammunition so the executioner remains unknown.

Sukumaran and Chan were given the legally required 72 hours' notice of their executions on Saturday, meaning they could go ahead as early as Tuesday night.

A painting seen leaving the prison yesterday was entitled “72hrs Just Started”, while others were signed “A Bad Sleep Last Night” and “A Strange Day'.

Indonesian authorities have insisted the executions will go ahead as planned this week, rebuffing last-minute appeals from Australia and the Philippines to spare their nationals and ignoring a decision by the Constitutional Court to hear a final challenge.

News of a new hearing on 12 May raised hope that the sentence might be delayed but that was dashed by the attorney general today.

Their lawyer, Leonard Arpan, said the hearing out consider their case but a spokesperson has since said it will not affect the executions.

Attorney general spokesman Tony Spontana said they would not be delayed and insisted that the execution of all nine people on death row would proceed this week.

People at a vigil in Sydney on 27 April against the execution of Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran

Australia had started on Monday basing its plea for a reprieve on reports that their trial had been tainted by corruption.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said allegations that judges said they would take bribes in exchange for lighter sentences were “very serious” and called into question the integrity of the process.

But President Joko Widodo said such concerns should have been conveyed a decade ago when the case when through the courts.

The UN Secretary-General, Ban K-Moon, also pleaded for clemency and called for Indonesia to declare a moratorium on capital punishment.

“They have been rehabilitated in a most remarkable way over the past ten years and are genuinely remorseful for their serious crimes,” Ms Bishop said.

“Nothing can be gained and much will be lost if these two young Australians are executed…I again respectfully call on the President of Indonesia to reconsider his refusal to grant clemency.

Halen Chan, the mother of death-row prisoner Andrew Chan, wipes away tears during a press conference in Jakarta, Indonesia

“It is not too late for a change of heart.”

Sukumaran and Chan were convicted in 2006 as part of the “Bali Nine” drug smuggling gang who were arrested on the island for trying to smuggle 8kg of heroin to Australia. Their six Australian co-conspirators were jailed for between 18 years and life in Indonesia.

The pair are part of a separate group of drug convicts, including others from Brazil, Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria and Indonesia, due to be imminently executed.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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