Myuran Sukumaran

Early life

Myuran is an Australian citizen who was born in London in 1981 and whose family is of Sri Lankan heritage. 

In 1985 the family migrated to Australia, living in Sydney’s western suburbs. Myuran attended Homebush Boys High School in Sydney, where he met and became friends with Andrew Chan.  

Myuran worked in a mailroom and had clerical jobs, and later worked in the passport office in Sydney.  

Criminal case

In April 2005, Myuran, then aged 24, and several others were arrested for their attempts to smuggle heroin into Australia. He and the eight other Australians arrested came to be known collectively as the  Bali Nine.  

Myuran was tried and convicted in the Denpasar District Court and on 14 February 2006 was sentenced to death by firing squad. He lost two more appeals in 2006, and by September 2006 had been sentenced to death three times. From that time he changed lawyers, and slowly turned his life around, facing up to his wrongdoing and reforming himself. 

Myuran and Andrew had only one appeal option left, but in June and July 2011 Myuran and Andrew lost that final legal appeal. Their only hope now to avoid the firing squad is an appeal for clemency to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. 

Life in prison

Myuran teaches computer and graphic design courses, giving fellow inmates much needed job skills.  His aim is to provide rehabilitation and to give something back to the Indonesian community.  

Myuran is also attempting to establish a drug-counselling program in the prison.

Myuran describes his arrest as 'a blessing', saying:

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.

A keen artist, Myuran mentors a number of fellow artists, organising materials and selling their work.  His work was recently exhibited at Bali's G Gallery & Living.  Proceeds are returned to the jail and then allocated to pay for more art materials, the twice-weekly classes and to a local drug rehabilitation centre.

Prison authorities have appointed Myuran a 'kelian banjar' under a program of prison leadership set up by prison governor Siswanto, modelled on the Balinese system of village government.  Myuran supervises a group of around 20 prisoners, assigning them tasks, liaising with guards, resolving disputes, overseeing penalties, and making small repairs in the prison.  

In extraordinary evidence, Governor Siswanto, at the final appeal, said he believes Myuran is a well-behaved prisoner who has turned over a new leaf and was unlikely to commit similar crimes in the future. He asked that Myuran be spared execution. 

To my mother and to my family, to people who use drugs and to their families, to the community in Indonesia and Australia - I do apologise.

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