Mary Jane, The Woman Who Escaped A Firing Squad

Mother-of-two Mary Jane Veloso escaped the firing squad that executed Australia’s Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
Now, Indonesia’s President says his new Philippines counterpart has told him to “go ahead” with the execution…

Joko Widodo’s victim count:

(from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_in_Indonesia#Execution_statistics )

Joko Widodo, Pembunuh Berantai.

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Final Minutes

From Christie Buckingham, who Myuran Sukumaran’s chose to be his spiritual adviser, to accompany him in his final hours.

They prayed, sang, joked and talked until just after midnight, when the guards arrived to take them to the killing field.

As they were marched out of their cells, Andrew led the prisoners in a chorus of Amazing Grace.

[Myuran] was chained to the pole on an angle slightly higher than her, so she stood on tippy toes and raised her arm high to block the line of sight so he could not see the lasers dotting his chest.

 

“We started singing Bless the Lord and I said, ‘Is there anything else you want to say?’ He said, ‘I trust you, Jesus’, and we kept on singing. The guard took me by the arm then, so I said to My very calmly, ‘I’m just going to take one step back, My. Can you still hear me?’ and he said, ‘Yeah, I can hear you’. Then I said, ‘I’m going to take a few steps to the side, My. Can you still hear me?’ and he said, ‘Yeah I can hear you’, and we kept singing. Then I said, ‘I love you. I’ll see you on the other side’.”

 

As she was walking off, Andrew called to her.

“I rushed to Andrew and put my hand on his heart, and I said, ‘Bless you, Andrew, I love you and I’ll see you on the other side’, and he said, ‘I love you, too, Mrs B. Keep being God’s woman’, which is what he’d always said to me. That moment will stay with me forever.”

 

“I said to them, ‘Keep singing’, so Andrew started to sing again and as I walked off to the side of the field where the other witnesses were, the guard put up a plastic sheet to block our view and they fired.

https://www.nowtolove.com.au/news/real-life/bali-two-andrew-chan-myuran-sukumaran-pastor-10417

The Pastor and the Painter, author interview.

It’s three years since Bali 9 drug traffickers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed by firing squad.

Their supporters continue the campaign against Indonesia’s death penalty.

News Limited journalist Cindy Wockner covered their story from the beginning right through to their brutal end.

She promised the pair to write their story so their deaths would not be in vain.

Cindy spoke to Cathy Van Extel about what the two men were really like, how they changed and their fight against the death penalty.

Includes details of the amazing achievements of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran within Kerobakan prison, Bali prior to their brutal death ordered by the Indonesian president Joko Widodo. [pembunuh berantai]

From here: http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/bigideas/the-pastor-and-the-painter/9653912

Joko Widodo’s victim count:

(from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capital_punishment_in_Indonesia#Execution_statistics )

The Pastor and the Painter, by Cindy Wockner

Reading The Pastor and the Painter was a little like reading a book about the Titanic. The tragic conclusion has already been well publicised.

Andrew Chan (the pastor) and Myuran Sukumaran (the painter) were killed by an Indonesian firing squad, upon the order of the Indonesian president, Joko Widodo.

Chan and Sukumaran had been sentenced to death by a Bali court for drug trafficking a decade before the sentence was finally carried out. Pleas for clemency were denied.

Not long before his death, Sukumaran painted a portrait of the man who would demand that the executions be carried out. On the back of the painting of the president, Sukumaran wrote “People Do Change”, stating the fact that everyone apart from the president seemed to recognise – that the two men whose lives were being taken from them were not the same men who committed the crime a decade before. They HAD changed.

The men sentenced were young, irresponsible, angry, unco-operative and undeniably guilty of the crime.
The men being executed 10 years later were repentant, responsible and highly respected by those with authority over them in jail. Unlike many in their position who buried their despair in drug use, Chan and Sukumaran turned their lives around and went to work developing and running training programs and various other activities for other prisoners within the jail.

Chan studied for Christian ministry and started a church within the prison.
Sukumaran developed his artistic skills and was mentored by Australian artist Ben Quilty; sharing what he learned through holding art classes for fellow prisoners. Paintings were sold and proceeds used for various causes, including raising money to pay for life saving surgery for a female prisoner.

While many in the past have had sentences reduced, sadly, for others Indonesian law would remain inflexible.

 

Laws are like spider webs: if a fly or mosquito gets near, it gets trapped, but if a wasp or bee goes near, it breaks it and leaves. The same applies to the law: if a poor man strays he gets caught, while the rich and powerful exempt themselves from the law and walk away.

(Andrew Chan – from The Pastor and the Painter)

The absurdity of executing fully rehabilitated young men, who had not only turned their own lives around but had made significant contributions to the rehabilitation of their fellow prisoners, became even more extreme when the time came for them to be transported to the place where they were to be held prior to facing a firing squad. It was a full-on military exercise with armoured vehicles, armed soldiers and fighter jets escorting them on their journey.

On 27th April, two days before he and Myuran were executed, Andrew Chan married Febyanti Herewila, a local church minister, in a ceremony within the prison.

All up, about 20 people gathered, After Muran led them in prayer, he started singing ‘Bless the Lord’, a song also known as ‘10,000 Reasons’, and one they all knew and loved.

There was still some time for jokes amid the sad pall that hung over the Besi prison visiting area. As Myuran got stuck into some more junk food, someone told him it wasn’t good for him.

He smiled. “There are worse ways to die”.

(From The Pastor and the Painter)

 

On 29th April 2105, at 12.25am, Andrew and Myuran and six others were brutally killed by Indonesian president Joko Widodo. The weapon used: firing squad.

They were strapped by the elbows to wooden crosses and sang until their voices were silenced by the fatal gunshots. The song in the video above is the last they sang.

 

 

The eight people who were executed in Indonesia on 29 April 2015. Top row from left (including two of the Bali Nine): Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, Nigerian Okwuduli Oyatanze and Nigerian Martin Anderson. Bottom row from left: Nigerians Raheem Agbaje Salami, Silvester Obiekwe Nwolise, Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte and Indonesian Zainal Abidin. Two others (not pictured) who were scheduled to be executed were given a temporary reprieve. Photograph: The Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/29/bali-nine-who-are-the-nine-people-being-executed-by-indonesia )

Remembering Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan

Today marks the first anniversary of the killing of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran at the command of the Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Their lives were ended at 12.25am on 29 April 2015.

From ABC Radio

Remembering Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were convicted drug smugglers but in the 10 years leading up to their deaths, they completely reformed. Andrew became an ordained Christian minister inside his Bali prison. Myuran expressed his growing faith in his art.

On their journey, they were accompanied by two extraordinary couples: Salvation Army chaplain David Soper and his wife; and the Rev Christie Buckingham and her husband Pastor Rob Buckingham of Melbourne’s Bayside Church. Rob Buckingham became a friend of this program, where he was a voice of reassurance in dark times.

http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2016/04/rer_20160420_1750.mp3

sukumaran-1024x576
Illustration from here:
https://news.artnet.com/art-world/australian-artist-ben-quilty-seeks-mercy-for-bali-nine-236980

Also see story here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2015/11/11/myuran-sukumaran-gq-artist_n_8526004.html

and here

http://reprieve.org.au/news/reflections-29-april-2015-executions/