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As the families of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran make final preparations to bring the bodies of the two men back home, heart-wrenching funerals have been held in Indonesia for two men executed alongside them.
The bodies of Chan and Sukumaran are being held in a Jakarta mortuary ahead of their scheduled departure for Australia late on Thursday night. They should arrive in Sydney on Friday morning.
As well as family members, Chan’s wife, Febyanti Herewila, will accompany his body back to its final resting place. The pair were married on the eve of the execution.
Funeral plans are not yet confirmed for the two Australians, whose brave defiance in the face of a firing squad – they sang hymns and did not wear blindfolds – deeply moved millions of Australians. Zainal protested innocence to the end
The only Indonesian among the eight executed early on Wednesday morning, Zainal Abidin, was buried later that afternoon in a sorrowful ceremony in Cilacap, the port town across the narrow strait from Nusakambangan, where the eight men were killed.
Zainal wanted to be buried in his home town of Palembang in South Sumatra but his request was denied by local authorities. It is understood they didn’t want to pay for the transfer of his remains.
Zainal comes from an impoverished background and the only relative to attend the service was his brother Iwan Setiawan.
“Everything is over. My brother has been buried. What else can we do? May God forgive all his sins,” Iwan said
Dozens of local residents attended the funeral, which was led by local cleric Hasan Marakim the Jakarta Post reported.
“It’s such a pity. I feel very sad. Although, he might not be a bad person, he is already dead. Who knows if God has forgiven his sins?” a local man, Surmani, told the paper.
“Hopefully, his soul will be peaceful here.”
In a moving letter drafted in March, the former furniture factory labourer said his “restless soul” would haunt those who perpetrated a massive injustice upon him.
He always maintained his innocence after 58.7 kilograms of cannabis was found in his home. He said an acquaintance, Aldo, left it there without his knowledge.
Following his arrest in 2000, his wife left him and he never saw his baby daughter again. In February, his parents’ home burned down.
In more devastating misfortune, one of his brothers had a heart attack and died in March after hearing from prosecutors in Palembang that the family would have one last chance to see Zainal because the executions were imminent.
A few days later, Indonesia’s Attorney-General announced a delay in the executions. Tearful farewell to “Uncle Dili”
Nigerian drug dealer Okwudili Oyatanze was also buried on Wednesday at the Gita Eklesia Foundation’s orphanage in Ambarawa, near the Central Java city of Semarang.
“Dili”, as he was affectionately known, formed a gospel band with guards at Nusakambangan.
Arrested with 1.15 kilograms of heroin in his possession, he was completely reformed, a devoted Christian and spent his time in prison helping other inmates.
Oyatanze was frequently likened to Chan and Sukumaran for his leadership role in prison, and his impact on the lives of other convicts.
Upon its arrival at the orphanage, his body was greeted by a sign emblazoned “Welcome Home, Uncle Dili”, local media reported.
Oyatanze was orphaned at seven months and had a harsh upbringing.
Rina, the owner of the orphanage, told the Jakarta Post she often visited Oyatanze in prison and took children from the centre to meet him.
“The children here felt close to him. They called him Uncle Dili,” she told the newspaper.
Nigerian Raheem Agbaje Salami, who formed a deep attachment to his Indonesian girlfriend, Angela, and Ghanaian Martin Anderson, sentenced to death for possessing just 50 grams of heroin, will also be buried in Indonesia.
Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte, who had suffered paranoid schizophrenia since a youth, and Nigerian Silvester Obiekwe Nwolise requested to have their bodies returned home. Ambassador’s final task before recall
Australia’s ambassador to Jakarta, Paul Grigson, is overseeing the repatriation of the bodies of Chan and Sukumaran. He is expected to return to Australia shortly after that task is complete after being recalled for “consultations” with the federal government.
An unprecedented diplomatic step, Mr Grigson’s recall reflects the depth of anger within the Australian government at Indonesia’s insistence on executing the two Australians, as well as a series of snubs, including announcing the countdown to the executions on Anzac Day in direct defiance of Australia’s requests.
Meanwhile, Indonesian lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis – who fought to save Chan and Sukumaran for years – posted a simple, moving tweet that hinted at the devastation so many supporters feel after their deaths. I still have no word to write. I may need time to find myself.— Todung Mulya Lubis (@TodungLubis) April 30, 2015