Myuran Sukumaran, one of the ringleaders of the infamous Bali Nine, was executed by firing squad on Nusakambangan Island in Java, Indonesia, yesterday (28).
The British-born Australian national, originally from Sri Lanka, was executed at approximately 6.25 p.m. (UK time) with seven others of the drug ring. Mary Jane Veloso from the Philippines was spared at the last minute.
The Bali Nine were a group of nine Australians, who made headlines in 2005 for planning to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin valued at US$3.1 million (£2 million) from Indonesia to Australia. Myuran Sukumaran and three others were arrested at the Melasti Hotel in Kuta, where Police found 334g of heroin hidden in a suitcase in his room.
According the testimonies given in Court by convicted drug mules, Myuran Sukumaran and his fellow school friend, Andrew Chan, were the leaders of the drug smuggling operation. He had been on the death row since February 2006, after Depasar District Court sentenced him to execution by firing squad for his role in a drug-smuggling plot.
Myuran Sukumaran’s close family met him for the last time before his execution. His brother, Chintu, said: “We spent the last few hours with my brother. We didn’t have much time. There were so many things to talk about.”
He added: “We did talk about the death penalty and he knows this is just a waste. It’s not going to solve anything with drugs.“Tomorrow, next week, next month, it’s still not going to stop anything with drugs. If these nine people die today, it’s still not going to stop anything.”
His mother, Raji, bid a tearful goodbye to her son: “I just had to say goodbye to my son and I won’t see him again.”
She was joined by Myuran Sukumaran’s sister, Brintha, in their plea to the Indonesian President Joko Widodo to call off the executions. Brintha said: “Please do not do this to my brother. Please don’t take my brother from me.”
Just hours before the execution, the Australian and French Governments also voiced their support for the family’s appeal to President Widodo. Their joint statement with the European Union (EU) read: “We fully respect the sovereignty of Indonesia. But we are against the death penalty in our country and abroad.” (CNN)