CILACAP, Indonesia, Apr 29 – As they walked to face the firing squad on an Indonesian prison island, eight condemned drug traffickers defiantly sang praise to God, witnesses said, while in a town across the water a group of tearful supporters was also uniting in song.
The convicts – two from Australia, one from Brazil, four from Africa and one Indonesian – made the long journey from their prison to clearings on a prison island to meet their fate early Wednesday.
But rather than bow their heads in defeat and resignation, the convicts all reportedly refused blindfolds and raised their voices in song, including a rendition of “Amazing Grace”, until the gunfire from the firing squads rang out.
The husband of Pastor Christie Buckingham, who gave spiritual guidance to one of the Australians in his final moments, said his wife told him the men conducted themselves with “dignity and strength until the end”.
“She told me the eight of them walked out onto the killing field singing songs of praise,” Rob Buckingham told 3AW radio in Australia. READ: Indonesia gears up for executions as families wail in grief.
Across the water in the town of Cilacap, the final crossing point for inmates destined for death on the high-security Nusakambangan island, a small band of mourners held a candlelight vigil, and also sang “Amazing Grace”.
The haunting sounds filled the night sky, drowning out the sobs of those too distressed to contemplate what was taking place in the jungle-clad hills of the prison island.
One man wailed loudly and implored Indonesian President Joko Widodo to have mercy. Another supporter read out the names of each inmate one by one.