According to the pastors who were with them in their final hours, reformed Bali Nine ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran and their six fellow death row prisoners refused to wear blindfolds and were singing as they were executed by a 13-member firing squad in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The eight men chose to face their executioners and spent their last minutes of life praying, praising God and singing songs including Amazing Grace.
On Wednesday morning, Pastor Christie Buckingham – who read Chan and Sukumaran their last rites – said the eight death row inmates walked out onto the killing field singing religious songs in the
moments before they were executed.
Pastor Buckingham said the men conducted themselves with ‘dignity and strength until the end’. Another pastor, Karina de Vega, said it was a ‘beautiful experience’.
‘It was breathtaking. This was the first time I witnessed someone so excited to meet their God,’ Pastor de Vega told Fairfax.
Photo: Sympathisers carry the coffin bearing the body of Indonesian drug convict Zainal Abidin
Indonesian Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo confirmed at a news conference hours after the deaths had been widely reported that each of the eight had been executed simultaneously at 12:35 a.m. (1735 GMT) by a 13-member firing squad. Medical teams confirmed their deaths three minutes later, he said.
“The executions have been successfully implemented, perfectly. All worked, no misses,” he said of the deaths of two Australians, four Nigerians, a Brazilian and an Indonesian man.
Prasetyo also dismissed concerns that Indonesia had done long-term damage to bilateral relations through the executions. According to him:
“It’s just a momentary reaction. What we’re doing is carrying out court decisions.”
He said that the message was “do not try to smuggle drugs in Indonesia, because we will be harsh and firm against drug-related crimes.”
Ambulances carrying the executed men’s coffins have left the prison island of Nusakambangan, Death Island for burial.
Australians Sukumaran and Chan requested that their bodies be flown back to Australia. Nigerian Martin Anderson chose to be buried in the West Java town of Bekasi, and fellow Nigerian Raheem Agbaje, wanted to be buried in the East Java town of Madiun where he had been a prisoner. Indonesian Zainal Abidin is to be buried in Cilacap.
The wishes of two other Nigerians — Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise and Okwudili Oyatanze — as well as those of Gularte, the Brazilian, have yet to be made public.
Originally, 10 inmates were to be executed, but Frenchman Serge Atlaoui was excluded because he still had an outstanding court appeal against Jokowi’s rejection of his clemency application. The government says Atlaoui will face a firing squad alone if his appeal is rejected by the Administrative Court.
|Execution ground: The 4 Nigerians plus others were killed here|
In reaction to the killings, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that Australia will withdraw its ambassador from Jakarta in response to the executions of two Australians, Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31.
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff said in a statement the execution of a second Brazilian citizen in Indonesia this year “marks a serious event in the relations between the two countries.”
Jokowi’s predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, canceled a trip to Australia this week because of growing anger over the executions. He was to give a speech at the University of Western Australian in the city of Perth on Friday on Australia’s diplomatic and economic relationships with its Asia-Pacific neighbors, including Indonesia