Tamil Diplomat

Myuran Sukumaran to look his executioners in the eye

Myuran Sukumaran will refuse to wear a blindfold so he can look his executioners in the eye when he faces the firing squad on Tuesday night, a close friend has revealed.

Ben Quilty, an Australian artist who has grown close to the prisoner since teaching him to paint, said Sukumaran wanted to show strength and dignity because he doesn’t want his mother “to think he’s a weeping mess” in his dying moments.

“Myuran always said to me that he would never take this lying down; that he would stare them down, that no one would cover his eyes, that he would face it with dignity,” he told Reverend Bill Crews in a conversation on 2GB Radio.


Quilty revealed that Sukumaran would be thinking most about his mother when he is taken out of his cell on Nusakambangan Prison in the middle of the night on Tuesday to be shot by specialist Indonesian police.

“He will face it with strength and dignity, I know that, I know that about him, because he won’t want his mother to think he’s a weeping mess at the end. He’ll want his mum to think that he’s brave and strong and dignified and she should be proud of the man that he’s become,” Quilty told Reverend Crews on Sunday night.

“He always said to me that he’s made terrible mistakes… I think he’s forgiven himself for the horror of what he did, the crime that he did, but he has never been able to forgive himself for what he’s put his mum through and his little sister and his little brother.”

Sukumaran and Andrew Chan will be executed after midnight on Tuesday, local time, after their families say their final farewells about 2pm.


Prisoners have the option of standing, sitting or kneeling and wearing a blindfold. Each prisoner has 12 marksmen aiming rifles at his or her heart but only three have live ammunition, so the executioner remains unidentified.

Quilty said that he will probably be in his studio painting when his friend is executed because “Myuran would want me to paint on that night”.

“If Myuran were in my shoes he’d probably be in his studio,” he said. “[Painting] is something that you become very, very dedicated to and very driven by and it enables you to become a much better person and Myuran would want me to paint on that night.”

In their final 72 hours, Chan was granted permission to marry his fiancee, Febyanti Herewila, and Sukumaran painted what would be his last self portrait: a torso with a palm-sized black hole over the heart dripping with blood.

Quilty lashed out at Indonesian authorities, saying the drama and constant delays surrounding the executions has been “very gross”.

“This sounds harsh but if they were going to do this, they should have done it at the beginning and got it over and done with and let the families start grieving,” he said.

“The hardest thing for me now is the only thing, the only help that I can offer my friend, is to start planning his funeral four months after they threatened to do this. It’s inhumane, I’m speechless.”

He vowed to Reverend Crews that he would spend the rest of his life fighting the death penalty.

“There is no case for it,” he said. “We are human beings and for us to have compassion and forgiveness and to understand that flaws is what makes us human and I will fight for that for the rest of my life.” ( The South Morning Herald).