Bali Nine: Myuran Sukumaran remembered at funeral; friends vow to abolish death penalty.

The funeral of one of the Bali Nine ringleaders, Myuran Sukumaran, is underway at Castle Hill in Sydney.

About 1,200 family, friends and supporters have gathered at the service to farewell Sukumaran at the DaySpring Church.

His family also invited members of the public to attend.

Sukumaran’s mother, brother and sister will speak at the service, as well as artist Ben Quilty, who was Sukumaran’s mentor and friend of four years and helped him develop his art practice while in prison.

Balloons will be released outside the church before a private cremation is held after the ceremony.

Ivar Schou who was a mentor and friend to Sukumaran in Bali, spoke at the funeral and said Sukumaran was a good person.

Myuran sukumaran funeral
Chintu Sukamaran, brother of Myuran Sukumaran, looks on as Myuran’s coffin is brought into the church during his funeral service. (Image via ABC: Getty Images- Don Arnold)

“My life has changed because of my friendship with you Myuran, I’ve never met a man as extraordinary as you,” he said.

“I will work to abolish the death penalty, I will work for rehabilitation, I will do all I can to help people in need like you did. I miss you so much my friend.”

Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were executed along with six others by firing squad on the Indonesian prison island of Nusakambangan on Wednesday last week.

The two men spent nearly 10 years in detention on death row in Bali’s Kerobokan prison after they were found guilty of attempting to smuggle eight kilograms of heroin into Australia.

Yesterday, thousands of people turned out for the funeral of Chan which was held at the Hillsong Church in Baulkham Hills.

The bodies of Chan and Sukumaran arrived back in Australia on Saturday, three days after the men were executed.

Myuran sukumaran funeral
A funeral for Myuran Sukumaran is being held in Sydney today. (Image via ABC: Supplied)

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the executions were a “dark moment” in the relationship between Australia and Indonesia, and responded bywithdrawing the Australian ambassador to Indonesia, Paul Grigson.

Since the executions, the Australian Federal Police has again faced criticism for not arresting the two drug smugglers before they left for Indonesia in 2005.

This week, AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin explained police did not have enough evidence to arrest the men in Australia and it was “operationally appropriate” to cooperate with Indonesia.


Indonesia has staunchly defended the executions as a vital front of its “war” on drugs.

Sukumaran described arrest as ‘blessing’

Sukumaran was born in London in 1981 and moved to Australia with his Sri Lankan family.

He grew up in Auburn in Sydney’s south-west and went to Homebush Boys High School.

While in prison Sukumaran and Chan set up a drug rehabilitation program and ran art and computer classes.

Sukumaran described his arrest as “a blessing”.

“You know, when I think back at my life, I never really contributed to anything. Now I’m doing all sorts of stuff around here. It feels good, really good.”

Sukumaran studied for his bachelor of fine arts through Curtin University and artist Ben Quilty became his mentor and friend in prison.

This article was originally published by the ABC. It has been republished here with full permission.

You can read more about tributes to Chan and Sukumaran here:

Two lives were wasted today, but they won’t be forgotten.

Guy Sebastian writes a tribute song to Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Andrew Chan’s wife reads his beautiful eulogy: “Death will not separate us.”