Artist Ben Quilty has delivered an emotional speech at a candlelight vigil for Bali Nine death row inmates Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan in Sydney.
“I was afraid no one would show up,” Quilty told hundreds of supporters at the Music for Mercy vigil in Sydney’s Martin Place.
“Andrew and Myuran did some really bad things,” he said, choking back tears.
“But I can tell you they are good young men now.”
He spoke of the first time he met Sukumaran at Bali’s Kerobokan prison, and the pain he felt knowing their most recent meeting could be their last.
Hopes are fading for the duo, whose appeals for presidential clemency have been rejected.
Chan, 31, and Sukumaran, 33, are reportedly among the prisoners Indonesia plans to execute next, though there has been no confirmation of this from officials.
Sukumaran’s grandmother, Edith Visvanathan, was helped to the stage from a wheelchair and delivered an forceful plea for his life.
“I am very, very sad, and very, very weak,” she said.
“But today I come here to ask the Indonesian president to forgive my grandson.
“Don’t kill him. Please don’t kill him.”
Other speakers told of the duo’s rehabilitation in Kerobokan prison and the assistance they have given fellow prisoners.
“We know Andrew and Myuran are positive, generous young men, humbly pursuing the path to reform,” said Mercy Campaign co-founder Matthew Goldberg.
In messages sent via lawyers in Bali and read by host David Wenham, Chan and Sukumaran thanked supporters.
“We’re amazed how kind and supportive everyone has been,” Sukumaran’s message said.
“It has helped our families so much.
“As we face what’s coming, we thank everyone who has supported us. There are no words for this kindness.”
Chan asked the crowd to use the occasion to think of all those facing execution around the world.