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Bali 9 executions: Some of Myuran Sukumaran’s last words revealed, 1 year later

Self-portrait and portrait of Andrew Chan by Myuran Sukumaran, Nusakambangan Island, April 2015
Self-portrait and portrait of Andrew Chan by Myuran Sukumaran,
Nusakambangan Island, April 2015
On the one-year anniversary of the of execution of Bali Nine Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, some chilling last words have been revealed. 

Before the firing squad ended his life, Sukumaran imparted his final thoughts with spiritual advisor, Reverend Christie Buckingham. 

“Do me a favor,” News Corp Australia quoted him as telling her. 

“Ask the question in a year’s time, has this made any difference? Has it made any difference in Indonesia? Has it made any difference to the way Australians feel about the death penalty? Ask this question in one year, in five years and in 10 years. Ask it to yourself, ask it to those around you and ask it to anyone who will listen. Has this made a difference either way? Has this made a difference?”

And perhaps as just a chilling revelation as Sukumaran’s last questions is that several members of the firing squad approached Buckingham to seek forgiveness, she says. 

“He pulled his mask down and said ‘Maaf, Maaf’ (the Indonesian word for sorry).

“I just said Myu forgives you, I forgive you, God forgives you.”

Sukumaran and Chan were executed along with six others a year ago from today. The Bali Nine ringleaders were handed down the death penalty for a 2005 trafficking plot to smuggle heroin out of Bali into Australia. After a lengthy appeals process and many attempts to get clemency, they faced the firing squad, despite wide reports of their extensive rehabilitation efforts and progress. 

And while execution talk has significantly slowed in the last year, reports are saying a new round of executions could come soon. An Indonesian delegate was booed at a UN meeting after defending the use of the death penalty on drug offenders earlier this month, but Indonesia seems resolute to keep executions coming. 

But in response to Sukumaran, it seems even after the executions were meant to be such a great deterrent, drugs remain rampant throughout Bali and Indonesia. There are quite regular reports of both users and dealers being arrested and still stories of drug trading being run from inside Indonesia’s jails. 

Source: Coconuts Bali, April 29, 2016


Bali Nine duo remembered on anniversary

Australian artist Ben Quilty has paid tribute to his friend and student, Myuran Sukumaran, on the one-year anniversary of the Bali Nine ringleader's execution.

Sukumaran, 34, and fellow convicted drug smuggler, Andrew Chan, 31, were executed by firing squad on Indonesia's Nusakambangan island on April 29, 2015.

The pair spent a decade in Kerobokan Prison after attempting to smuggle heroin out of Bali in 2005.

Quilty was introduced to Sukumaran in 2012 after the imprisoned man expressed a desire to paint.

Sukumaran's paintings, including one of the Indonesian flag dripping with blood and a self-portrait with a gaping hole where his heart should be, became a haunting reflection of their final days on death row.

Quilty posted a 166-word tribute and a photo of the self-portraits to Facebook on Friday.

"Rest in peace Myu, with a brush in your hand my friend," the post reads.

"One year today. Seems a little like it was all just a really bad dream, like when you're a kid with a temperature and the nightmares rollick through your tiny brain."

Chan's family attended a Hillsong chapel in Sydney's northwest for the anniversary on Friday, while Sukumaran's private service is expected to be held on Saturday at the nearby DaySpring Church in Castle Hill.

Chan's brother Michael previously said the family had been struggling ahead of the anniversary.

"(It) has been a roller coaster ride for the family to come to terms with the loss," he told Reprieve Australia, an organisation fighting the death penalty.

"There has not been a day that has gone by that he is not in our thoughts. Countries need to look at ways to rehabilitate prisoners instead of executing them."

Febyanti Herewila, who married Chan two days ahead of his execution, told Reprieve his legacy to abolish the death penalty will continue.

A spokeswoman from Quilty's studio told AAP they are planning to exhibit Sukumaran's work in western Sydney early next year, followed by a national tour.

"Next year you will prove again to the world the outcome of rehabilitation, the profound importance of forgiveness and compassion and most importantly of all, the power of art," Quilty wrote, adding he would be sending Indonesian president Joko Widodo an invitation.

Source: AAP, April 29,  2016


Andrew Chan, Myuran Sukumaran execution anniversary stirs tributes from Kerobokan

Kerobokan prison guard Hermanus Hartanto
Kerobokan prison guard Hermanus Hartanto
A long-term guard at Bali's Kerobokan prison has wept while recounting the life and work of Bali Nine member, Myuran Sukumaran.

Today marks a year to the day since Australians Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were executed by firing squad for drug trafficking.

Chan and Sukumaran were the ringleaders of the so-called Bali Nine group and were convicted of attempting to smuggle more than eight kilograms of heroin into Australia.

At the Bali prison where the pair spent almost a decade, there is a deep sadness on the anniversary.

In 2006 Sukumaran approached prison guard Hermanus Hartanto about setting up an art studio at the jail.

Mr Hermanus said over the years that followed, he developed a deep friendship with Sukumaran.

Through tears he spoke to the ABC about the loss he has felt since the Australian was executed.

"I feel so disappointed because he couldn't get remission," Mr Hermanus said.

"He was a role model in here, almost everyone liked him."

"He was like my own son."

Hartanto said he would spend the day remembering and praying for Sukumaran.

"It was hard for me, very difficult because I saw him almost every day for eight years. When he sits down, I would sit beside him," he said.

"And he would always greet me, sometimes if I didn't see him he would call my name."

Sukumaran and Chan were executed on this day last year just after midnight, amid an outpouring of protest on both sides of the debate in Indonesia and at home in Australia.


Source: abc.net.au, April 28, 2016

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