Into darkness: Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were condemned to death. “I have just lost a courageous brother to a flawed Indonesian legal system”: Andrew Chan brother, Michael. Photo: Jason Childs
A midnight candle light vigual held at Wijaya Pura in Cilacap on the day of the execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sakamaran at Kerobokan Prison. Tuesday 28th April 2015. Photograph by James Brickwood. SMH NEWS 150428 Photo: James Brickwood
Coffins leaving Wijaya Pura in Cilacap after the executions on Nusakambangan. Photo: James Brickwood
Tunggal Panaluan, the firing range on Nusakambangan where Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were executed. Photo: James Brickwood
Ambulances carrying the bodies of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan arrive at the Abadi Funeral Homes in Daan Mogot, West Jakarta. Photo: Eka Nickmatulhuda
Workers from Abadi Funeral Homes prepare two wooden boxes to carry the coffins of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan home to Australia. Photo: Eka Nickmatulhuda
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The bodies of the Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have arrived at a morgue in Jakarta ahead of their repatriation to Australia.
The corpses of the reformed spiritual pastors will be loaded on to a flight bound for Sydney that is likely to depart on Thursday and arrive on Friday, 10 years after a pair of drug smugglers named Chan and Sukumaran made their doomed journey to Bali.
It is understood the bodies of the Australians executed on Nusakambangan Island in the early hours of Wednesday will be kept at the mortuary in west Jakarta, close to the international airport, while travel arrangements are finalised.
Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said Australia’s consul-general, Majell Hind, will be required to identify the Australians.
Australian officials are with the families of Chan and Sukumaran and Ms Bishop said it would be their job to see the bodies are returned to the families, with the respect and dignity they deserved.
Just one day earlier Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were full of life and dry-eyed as they comforted their weeping families in their last moments together.
They faced their executioners defiantly, refusing the blindfolds that may have offered some respite from the sight of the gun barrels pointed at their chests.
All eight condemned men sang as they stood front of the firing squad, “praising their God”, said Pastor Karina De Vega, who was waiting close by.
Shots rang out across Nusakambangan island at 12.35am local time, signalling the end of a desperate campaign for mercy to save the lives of the two Australians. Also executed to international condemnation were four Africans, one Brazilian and an Indonesian. A Philippine maid secured an 11th hour reprieve.
Their corpses lying in the night air, the living said prayers over the dead before they were moved to the mortuary. Their bodies were washed and the bullets buried in their hearts were removed, said Tony Spontana, a spokesperson for Indonesian Attorney-General.
Their blood would not have stained the white lining of the coffins. Their skin, torn open only moments earlier, was stitched back together.
It is understood that both Chan and Sukumaran died quickly. None of the eight condemned men were shot in the head. Their wounds would have been hidden once they were dressed in fresh clothes.
Soon after, the bodies of the condemned Bali nine ringleaders were lowered into their coffins and the lids shut tight.
Their eight coffins were loaded onto eight ambulances that boarded the ferry from Nusakambangan to Cilacap port where their families waited. Chan and Sukumaran then began their final, lonely journey home.
As the ambulances carrying the bodies disembarked at Cilacap port, Indonesian police officers locked arm in arm guarded the convoy and the grim procession began its 10-hour journey to Jakarta.
Amid their tears and hugs, Chan and Sukumaran’s family and friends fell in behind the police-escorted convoy of ambulances carrying their men.
Their mothers, Raji Sukumaran and Helen Chan, were supported by their children as they boarded vans, minibuses and one large bus.
They were clearly exhausted, and appeared dazed as they tried to come to terms with the enormity of their grief.
In a macabre bureaucratic formality, the families were only officially told that Chan and Sukumaran had been executed when the bodies were presented to them.
“Today we lost Myuran and Andrew,” the families said in a statement overnight.
“Our sons, our brothers. In the ten years since they were arrested, they did all they could to make amends, helping many others,” they said.
Chan’s brother Michael tweeted: “I have just lost a courageous brother to a flawed Indonesian legal system. I miss you already RIP my Little Brother.”
“Bless the lord o my soul . Myu likes this song . He sang it today. Please sing it for him,” Sukumaran’s sister Brin posted on Facebook.
For them the sight of the coffins in the back of the ambulances confirmed the killing of their loved ones, which hours earlier had been only the sound of gunshots in the night.
At the time of the execution many of the family members became hysterical while others offered consolation, Fairfax Media was told.
“By the time the coffins arrived for identification and official handover, the families were calmer and the process went smoothly,” the source said.
The subdued transfer was in stark contrast to the traumatic scenes family members were forced to endure on Monday when they were crushed in mob of reporters, police and their dogs as they made their way to Cilicap Port for one of their last visits before their loved ones were killed.
It will be the responsibility of Australian officials to ensure Chan’s and Sukumaran’s families are shielded from such indignities on the final leg of their journey home.