Myuran Sukumaran refused to wear a blindfold in front of the firing squad
Myuran Sukumaran refused to wear a blindfold in front of the firing squad

Myuran Sukumaran gave out chocolates to cheer up family

THE cousin of one of the two Australian men executed in Indonesia has told how the inmate distributed chocolate to his fellow convicts and tried to comfort his mother before they faced the firing squad.

Dharminie Mani was one of the relatives allowed to visit Myuran Sukumaran yesterday at Besi prison on the feared Nusakambangan "execution island".

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She said the 34-year-old mused about all the things he could miss, including the new Avengers film, Batman v Superman, Star Wars Episode VII and the Mayweather vs Pacquiao boxing match.

"My mum and aunt had silent tears streaming down their faces as Myu smiled and joked trying to cheer them up," Ms Mani wrote on Facebook.

"But that's who Myu is - he is that friend that places himself last in order to support those around him."

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

He and friend Andrew Chan, convicted as ringleaders of the "Bali Nine" drug smuggling ring, were executed alongside six other prisoners.

They reportedly sang hymns and "Amazing Grace" in the moments before they were killed and refused to wear blindfolds as they faced the firing squad shortly after 12.30am local time.

Sukumaran, who described himself in a previous interview as a "stupid kid" when he committed his offences in 2005, passed on what he learned during a decade in prison to his younger relatives.

Ms Mani said he held hands with her and her sister and gave them advice she will "hold on to forever".

She wrote: "He told me success is cumulative. That no one wakes up successful.

"It takes hard work behind the scenes where no one else can see. It starts when you set yourself goals, you make sure you do something small every day.

"He told me I was only restricted by the restrictions I placed on myself - 'don't let people say no, find a way around their negativity'."

A woman places a candle on top of pictures of the prisoners to be executed in Indonesia, during a vigil at Martin Place in Sydney, Australia
A woman places a candle on top of pictures of the prisoners to be executed in Indonesia, during a vigil at Martin Place in Sydney, Australia

Ms Mani was visiting Sukamaran with the rest of her family for the last time, alongside relatives of the eight other convicts.

She said she watched Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise, from Nigeria, give his children piggy backs around the prison and pray with them.

Filipino Mary Jane Veloso, who was later given a last-minute stay of execution, had to detach herself from her youngest child as he clung on to her, she said.

Ms Mani overheard Nigerian Raheem Agbaje Salami's girlfriend ask him to "find her" as she wept.

Chan still carried a "just married" smile from the day before, when he married fiancée Febyanti Herewila in prison as his last wish.

"I saw smiles so wide and humbling on the faces of other prisoners when Myu tasked me with the job of handing out his chocolates and nut bars that he 'no longer needed'," Ms Mani wrote.

"Myu spent both today and yesterday trying to take care of other people. Trying to organise everything so that others would be taken care of.

"That's Myu through and through."

She told her cousin that God had "etched eternity" on his and Chan's heart.

"That's quite literally the only thing I can be sure of during all of this chaos," she added.

During their decade in prison, the pair organised painting, cookery and computer classes, as well as helping the poorest inmates get food, clothing and essentials.

Sukumaran's striking oil paintings became well-known, earning an exhibition in London to mark his 34th birthday earlier this year. 

One of his last works was a bleeding heart, signed on the back by all eight people waiting to die.

One of the final works by Myuran Sukumaran ahead of his execution. It was signed by all those who were to be executed with him.
One of the final works by Myuran Sukumaran ahead of his execution. It was signed by all those who were to be executed with him.
 

Chan converted to Christianity during his decade in jail and was subsequently ordained, running services at a prison chapel and led prayers in the lead-up to his death.

Their families lit candles as they watched the procession of cars taking them to the execution site last night, the Sydney Morning Herald reported, adding many became hysterical when gunshots rang out a short time later.

"The good thing is all prisoners were executed together while praying and singing. Before that they hugged each other, saying goodbye," Christina Widiantarti, a lawyer for the Brazilian convict said after witnessing the execution.

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.
 


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