Myuran Sukumaran's art mentor posted a powerful, heartbreaking message about the Bali Nine executions

(L-R) Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan in February 14, 2006. Photo: Jason Childs/ Getty.

Australia is waking to the grim confirmation that the Bali Nine ringleaders, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, were executed by Indonesia overnight.

Sukumaran had planned not to wear a hood so he could look the firing squad in the face.

Around nine hours before they were taken out from their cells at midnight to be shot, the Australian artist Ben Quilty, Sukumaran’s friend and mentor, posted a short and powerful message on Facebook that has been shared thousands of times. During his decade in prison, Sukumaran had learned to paint under Quilty’s tutelage.

Here’s the post, which captures a lot of the sadness and anger in Australia this morning among people who never knew Chan and Sukumaran, from someone who did get to know them and believed in their rehabilitation. It’s addressed to the Indonesian president.

Joko Widodo tonight you will kill two good men, my friends. I want you to know that you may take their freedom and their lives, you may rob their fellow inmates of the support and love that both men have offered and provided for so long, you can turn off Myu’s imagination but you will never kill the memory of them. I have promised Myu and Andrew, their parents and their siblings, that I will fight against the death penalty for the rest of my life.

I can also assure you that Myu and Andrew will care for the other inmates you will execute tonight. The six men and one young woman from the Philippines, Ghana, Brazil and Nigeria will have two constant, calming and compassionate voices beside them right until the last second. Myuran will continue to translate your executioner’s words into English for Mary Jane Veloso and Andrew will calm and console. I know that before the sound of your guns the island will hear the comforting whisper of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.

You can see it here.

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