back to top

Thousands Attend Funeral Of Executed Australian Myuran Sukumaran

"We are gathered here, not to mourn, but to celebrate."

Posted on

Myuran Sukumaran, a drug smuggler who was executed in Indonesia, was put to rest today in Sydney.

Sukumaran was arrested in Indonesia in 2005, and found guilty of smuggling 8.3kg of heroin into the country. He was executed, along with co-ringleader Andrew Chan, last week. Chan's funeral was held yesterday.

This morning, a public funeral was held for Sukumaran at Dayspring Church in Castle Hill.

The stage was decorated with his paintings and a bucket of his paintbrushes.

Over 1,000 people turned up to farewell Sukumaran, and celebrate his life.

Dayspring Church

Andrew Chan's family were amongst those in attendance, as were Australian consular officials who were previously in Bali.

Letters were read from inmates of Kerobokan prison, remarking how Sukumaran "built a community in a prison".

"He wanted to right the wrongs of his past and help other prisoners to change," one letter read. "The man he became was nothing less than amazing. I am so proud to call him my friend and my brother."

Australian artist Ben Quilty gave a powerful speech, declaring his anger and sadness over the way his friend Sukumaran was treated.

Dayspring Church

"It is not ok for us to call for the death penalty for anyone, ever," he said. "[Australia] should be proud that we have not committed such a barbaric act on another person for fifty years." The Archibald-winning artist called out members of the community who had sent Sukumaran threatening and condemning letters during his time in prison.

“We all need to make the effort to understand boys and men better, to offer guidance, be mentors, be forgiving and be inspiring men and women ourselves."

“Myu became exactly the man I’m describing.”

Sukumaran's mother, Raji, and brother, Chintu, gave a moving tribute to his life.

Dayspring Church

“Despite his rehabilitation and good work and wanting to live a good life and help others, my son was killed." Unable to finish her speech, her son Chintu read on her behalf: “He got caught up with something bad and the anger and shame I felt when he was arrested was gone a long time ago".

Chintu then said of his brother: “I know if the roles were reversed and it was me in there, he would’ve found a way to get me out. I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you."

“He said it is weak men who need to put on shows to portray their strength. A strong man is kind and compassionate, everyone knows their strength and they don’t need to prove it."

Other speakers included Sukumaran's sister, cousins, his mother's pastor, and a volunteer at Kerobokan prison.

Last night, Sukumaran's mother wrote an emotional open letter to the Indonesian Prime Minister, Joko Widodo.

Romeo Gacad / Getty Images

"I am not sure where you were as the men you ordered to kill my son, and seven others pulled the trigger but I am sure you were far away. My son died knowing all his loved ones were close by waiting in a hotel room to hear the news that he had been executed. My son did commit a serious crime but he also apologised to your country and your people many times."

"Myu spent many years rehabilitating so many prisoners, he hoped that he could help as many people as possible, to give them a chance to leave prison to go out in the world a little better than they came inside Myu helped prisoners who struggled with drug use and many other issues."

"As I finish this letter I pray for the many other men and women whose lives are in your hands, especially those on death row. I pray that you will have the courage to look beyond the politics for they too have families who love them despite their mistakes."

There will be a private cremation following the service.