Bali Nine pair spend 'last day' eating KFC, painting, praying and saying goodbye to families

International appeals and diplomatic efforts did not succeed in a reprieve

Lizzie Dearden
Wednesday 29 April 2015 08:26
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Andrew Chan, right, and Myuran Sukumaran have been in prison for 10 years
Andrew Chan, right, and Myuran Sukumaran have been in prison for 10 years

Two Australian men who were executed in Indonesia last night spent their last day in the company of their loved ones.

Parents, siblings, relatives and friends streamed into Nusakambangan prison on Tuesday to say their final goodbyes hours before the death sentences were carried out.

Myuran Sukumaran, 34, and Andrew Chan, 31, were shot dead by a firing squad alongside six other prisoners who were all convicted of drugs smuggling.

According to Indonesian law, they were all allowed to see their loved ones for one last time before families were expelled from the prison and they were left with officials and spiritual advisors.

Weeping relatives emerged to issue a final plea to spare the men and women but their appeals fell on deaf ears.

Chintu Sukumaran, Myuran’s brother, said he was “dignified and courageous” in the face of death and that he and Chan were comforting the others as much as they could.

As well as the two Australians, there are four Nigerian men, a Filipino woman and one man each from Brazil and Indonesia.

Prison guards have reportedly allowed the condemned inmates to mingle in recent days and on Monday, they all signed a final painting by Sukumaran showing a bleeding heart.

There are no provisions for a final meal for execution victims in Indonesia but yesterday night they were allowed to order a KFC takeaway.

The Australians organised the treat, the Sydney Morning Herald reported, which is a favourite for Indonesians.

Ben Quilty, the award-winning Australian artist who taught Sukumaran in prison, said he student and Chan would attempt to help their friends “until the last second”.

The back of a painting by Australian death-row prisoner Myuran Sukumaran is shown, signed by the eight other condemned people

“You may take their freedom and their lives, you may rob their fellow inmates of the support and love that both men have offered for so long...but you will never kill the memory of them,” he wrote in a Facebook post addressed to President Joko Widodo.

Chan will “calm and console” the others while Sukumaran will translate the executioner’s words into English, Mr Quilty said.

“I know that before the sound of your guns, the island will hear the comforting whisper of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan,” he added.

Chan’s brother Michael, who also visited Nusakambangan today,said the experience of saying goodbye was something that “no other family should ever have to go through”.

Michael Chan, brother of Australian drug convict and death row prisoner Andrew Chan, arrives at Nusakambangan island on 28 April

“Nine families inside a prison saying goodbye to their loved ones. Kids, mothers, cousins, brothers, sisters. You name it, they were all there,” he said.

“To walk out of there and say goodbye for the last time, it’s torture, and no family should have to go through that.”

Chan was granted his last wish to marry Indonesian girlfriend Febyanti Herewila on Monday and was said to be spending his final hours in prayer.

Sukumaran, who has released several harrowing self-portraits since being given notice of his imminent execution, asked to be allowed to paint up until the last possible moment.

Brintha Sukumaran, the sister of Myuran Sukumaran, cries during her final visit to see him in prison on 28 April

Indonesian law requires that prisoners’ final hours be spent with the spiritual advisor of their choice.

Reports suggested that Sukumaran and Chan had been refused the people they wanted to comfort them in their last hours but their pastors were later seen arriving at the prison.

Christine Buckingham and Pastor David Soper were among the last people to see the two Australians alive.

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The prisoners were expected to be killed by a firing squad any time after midnight, when Sukumaran had vowed not to wear a blindfold so he could “face it with dignity”.

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 Australian co-conspirators were jailed for between 18 years and life in Indonesia.

Additional reporting by agencies

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