Dateline, The Condemned


Back in April 2005, Indonesian authorities in Bali swooped on a heroin trafficking ring that netted nine young Australians, in the five and a half years since then, the now infamous 'Bali Nine' have scarcely been out of the news. Two of the nine, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, were subsequently sentenced to death. Scott Rush received the same sentence after lodging an appeal against a life sentence, and currently all three are appealing death penalties. After months of careful negotiations with their lawyers and Indonesian authorities 'Dateline's Mark Davis secured unprecedented and quite intimate access to Andrew Chan, and Myuran Sukumaran, on Death row in Bali, the first time anyone has been permitted to film there. Here is Mark's special report.

REPORTER: Mark Davis

Few sagas have captivated Australia and the Australian media as much as the 'Bali Nine', but we only know some of those nine stories. Three Australians are sentenced to be killed, shot, and yet we have barely even heard the voices let alone the stories of two of them. Tonight Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan speak at length for the first time about their crime, their lives, and their impending death sentence.

It's 8am - Kerobokan prison and morning roll call is about to begin. Kerobokan has been cast as a hellhole through books and media coverage about Schapelle Corby and others. It's a portrayal that rankles with the Governor Bapak Siswanto.

BAPAK SISWANTO, GOVERNOR (Translation): I think that the Australian news coverage about the Kerobokan Prison, has been very negative. It does not describe the current situation or conditions.

Given a chance to give me his view of his prison, the Governor grants permission for Chan and Sukumaran to be interviewed and remarkably permission to film inside;..

BAPAK SISWANTO (Translation): Don't make things up.

And for the first time access to the Supermax section, more commonly known as 'Death Row Tower', the tower was home to the Bali Bombers before they were executed.

REPORTER: How are you mate?

It's a prison within a prison, accommodating death row inmates and foreigners mostly serving life sentences. Cell number 2 houses Myuran Sukumaran.

REPORTER: You are not looking so good.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: I attempted to do a bit of sport to sweat it out.

His cell mate fellow 'Bali Nine' member Si Yi Chin, and another man also held on drug charges.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: I never saw myself as, like, a bad person or something like that. As I look back at myself now I see how stupid I was back then. I never thought of myself as a bad person.

ANDREW CHAN: Good morning.

REPORTER: Good morning. How are you?

ANDREW CHAN: Yeah, alright, I suppose;. Just got up.

Next door is Andrew Chan, who shares this cell with three others.

ANDREW CHAN: You know, I never really was good at being a family general man, really. I hardly ever spent any time with my mum and dad whatever, really, or brothers or sisters. We just really didn't get along. I was pretty much like the black sheep of the family, to be honest.

The prisoners are free to come and go from Supermax, but most of the day is spent here, around a cell converted into a gym.

ANDREW CHAN: It could be worse;.it could be worse. So I suppose I'm thankful that every day I actually get to wake up. As you know, I'm studying and a lot of people might see that as - saying "You know, there's no use towards it". "Look where you are staying", I believe if you want to build up to something, you have to start somewhere, you have to start today and maybe tomorrow won't exist.

All of the male members of the 'Bali Nine' are in prison here. But not all wish to be filmed. Most of them have had enough of that, including Scott Rush.

REPORTER: You have been the focus guy, it's odd. You haven't had much attention, he's had heaps.

SCOTT RUSH: It's unfair. Yeah, due to racism.

REPORTER: You reckon?

SCOTT RUSH: I think so;.. Dark-skinned.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: I think because it's easier to identify with.

REPORTER: He's the real Australian you think;.. The white boy.


REPORTER: That's interesting.

For better or worse, this yard is now home.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: If you want to see the garden, I made the whole garden.

Myuran Sukumaran has done his best to soften the vista of concrete and barbed wire.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: Before it's all like barbed wire, can you see - it was depressing to look at. I asked to put bamboo there to close it off.

REPORTER: And they said it was OK?

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: Yes. I tried to put these flowers inside here, they are cheap, 5,000, not even a dollar.

REPORTER: To cheer it up a bit, hey.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: But there was no grass here, but then before I came here, there was another Indonesian prisoner in room 3 there. Yes. He started to go out to the garden, and start stealing little square plots of grass and we planted -- put it there. And we planted it.

REPORTER: You did the whole yard there, cool. Have you done this before?

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: Never. This tree I planted about three years ago. It was, like, little. Now it's, like, big. I wonder how big it will big it will be when we get out of here;. To give a bit of shade.

REPORTER: How big do you think it will be? It will cover the yard, maybe.

It can be tough on the inside, but in some ways even tougher for the families on the other side of the wire.


It's visiting hour and Myuran's mother, sister and brother Chinthu are joining the throng at the gates.

CHINTHU, BROTHER: We are just lining up waiting for our number to be called, so we can get in.

REPORTER: And then you have a few hours.

CHINTHU: Usually we get to 11.30, then we can come back in the afternoon 1.30 until three.

Andrew's brother Michael makes the journey on behalf of the Chan family.

MICHAEL CHAN: Yeah, I try to get over once every six months or so, twice a year, it's a bit hard with work and everything. You have to take time off work. Yes. A bit hard, you've got to do what you've got to do.

All of their lives fell apart on 17 April 2005. The day that Andrew and Myuran were due back from what was presumably a holiday in Bali.

RAJINI SUKUMARAN, MOTHER: I remember it like yesterday. I was expecting him to come home, and he didn't - you know, he wasn't there, and I was wondering, I thought his plane was delayed. I was actually waiting for him outside, and walking up and down, just, you know, wondering why he hasn't come home yet.

BRINTHA SUKUMARAN, SISTER: My mum was getting nervous and she was outside. I had a bad feeling came over me, something didn't feel right. I just got up and I put on the news and saw him on Channel Nine and I thought "Oh, god", and I started to shake. Nothing was coming out of my mouth, and my mum was outside. And I quickly locked the door so she couldn't come in.

RAJINI SUKUMARAN: So after knocking and knocking and knocking she came, opened the door and she was trying to tell me that she saw Myuran on the news, and something happened in Bali, but she couldn't get the words out.

BRINTHA SUKUMARAN: Myuran Sukumaran, Bali, arrested - that was - after that everything just kind of caved in pretty much.

RAJINI SUKUMARAN: I felt a cold chill running down my body, and I remember falling on the floor. And I just couldn't believe that this thing happened, you know.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: You don't think that you are going to get a call and a huge scandal like this is going to happen. This is something like you watch on TV, right.

REPORTER: Tell me the moment it became real? Tell me the moment when it went wrong.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: Yeah, I was in front of the - the hotel and saw a huge bunch of men coming towards me, not wearing uniform, they were, like, undercover or something. I was sort of like frozen.

REPORTER: What's happened, what's happened?


REPORTER: You know in your heart though, you know this is the moment presumably.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: Yes, it took a day or something to actually realise that, you know, this was actually happening, I'm getting arrested. Yeah.

The day in Bali began with most of the group of Australians strapping packages of heroin around their bodies and heading to the airport. Not knowing that the Australian Federal Police had tipped off the Indonesian authorities. They were walking into a well-set trap.

ANDREW CHAN: I was. I was confident I was like "OK, right".

REPORTER: Where were you?

ANDREW CHAN: I was at the airport. Yes, I was confronted. I was confronted by a few gentlemen. I can't exactly remember how many, but...

REPORTER: You realise at this point that something is going seriously wrong at least. What do they say?

ANDREW CHAN: Yes, yeah, look, they didn't mention anything. I just went "Look, mate, I have a flight to catch". "If you've got nothing on me, I got to go home, see ya". They ended up detaining me and that's probably where, you know, some seriousness of it really probably sunk in.

MICHAEL CHAN: I'd actually finished work, gone and done some grocery shopping for dinner and got a phone call from mum and she was hysterical. Left the groceries where they were and pretty much drove straight home to mum and dads.

ANDREW CHAN: You know I've learnt to realise my brother is my own best friend. He'd always stick his nose in even though I turned around and said "It's none of your business", I know he only wanted to look out for me. I used to think he was a prick, but... ..but it's true, I used to think - I envied him. He knows that, because I told him.

MICHAEL CHAN: And some people say "Did you know?". Well, personally, if I knew he was up to something like that, I'd probably - it would be probably be more satisfaction for me to probably strangle him myself to death than to go through this pain and agony with him right now.

REPORTER: What did you say to your mum? She worked particularly hard all her life, and she was one of the - the breadwinner for your family. She raised you, worked, educated you, she's proud of you. What do you say to someone like that?

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: I keep saying I'm sorry. I don't know. I don't know what I can do actually to make it all better. Yeah.

Denpasar airport 2:00am - Lawyers Julian McMahon, and Joel Blackwell arrive to prepare Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran's final appeal. Julian McMahon represents a group of Melbourne lawyers who took over the case pro bono in 2006, after Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran lost three appeals in a row.

JULIAN MCMAHON, LAWYER: It's the end of the road really, they had three court cases in 2006 - they lost them all, sentenced to death each time. This is now the final appeal under Indonesian law - if they lose this, the death penalty stands to be imposed unless the President intervenes. What that really means is, you are taken out of your cell during the night, taken to a remote spot, tied to a post, firing squad, shot. And we have to change the judge's mind and we have to change the President's mind. If we fail in that they'll die.

GEORGE NEGUS: To say the least a tough call. Whatever the vagaries of the case, Julian McMahon, the Australian human rights lawyer is literally fighting for his client's life. After the break, more of Mark Davis's report in which Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran open up about their crime.


Now parttwo of our exclusive Dateline profile of condemned 'Bali Nine' members Andrew Chan, and Myuran Sukumaran, the two men described their arrest in Bali, and we saw the devastating impact on their families when they first received the shattering news. In this second part of Mark's report the two men talk for the first time about their crime and whether they ever considered what the consequences of becoming heroin traffickers might be both for themselves and for users of the deadly drug here in Australia.

REPORTER: Mark Davis

It's two days before their hearing, and Julian McMahon briefs the men on what the proceedings will be, they'll be admitting their gilt, and for the first time have some freedom to discuss their crime.

ANDREW CHAN: I don't think I was really going anywhere in life. I don't think, you know, I was achieving too much, even though I had a stable job and all. Yes, I don't think I was really heading anywhere, to be honest, you know, I've used drugs myself I was a drug user. You know, I know what it feels like to - to be, you know, one of them junkies walking on the street I guess.

REPORTER: But did you consider, which you must have, but did you consider that you were in a country with the death penalty though? I mean...

ANDREW CHAN: You don't think too much about - I didn't anyway. You know, most people think yeah, you would, but I didn't. It wasn't - more or less for me it was just quick pay day, that's it. Just think to yourself quick pay day, that's it - Nothing more, nothing less.

REPORTER: You are importing this stuff - I mean you're going to put this on the streets of Sydney and Melbourne, Brisbane.

ANDREW CHAN: Yeah, that I - I didn't know. That - like I knew that we were bringing it in. Where it was going, I didn't know. Yeah, I did have a - I did have a role in it, and I did some stupid things in my life. Just like every other person would do some silly things in their life, maybe not as extreme as me, you know, but as I said, I mean, the only thing I can do is apologise and that, I mean...

REPORTER: But what would someone - someone's got a 16-year-old, 17-year-old kid...


REPORTER: ..that's becoming a junkie right now. What sympathy will they have for you. I mean what...

ANDREW CHAN: They probably don't have any sympathy whatsoever for me. You know, they probably think I'm an A-hole, a guy bringing it in. I was one of them guys bringing it in and so forth. Truth of the matter is, you know, I did commit a crime, and, you know, right now I'm obviously paying - I'm obviously paying a price for it. And, you know, there's nothing I can do or say that could change their heart or nothing I could do or say that could change the position on, you know, what their son or daughter is doing right now.

JULIAN MCMAHON: So what else are you reading? You have Dante and Milton, two of the all-time greatest books.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: I have a couple of books on chess strategy and I don't know how to read them.

JULIAN MCMAHON: I'm very fond of both of them. They've both become lovely guys. I like them. They are a pleasure to work for, you know. They are on death row and they are kids really.

First you negotiate for this, now you negotiated a computer room and art classes. This is a really good book for you to read. It sort of is looking at American history from the point of view of the poor and the oppressed and the underprivileged and the Indians.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: I got through 20 pages of this, last few months I haven't been able to read properly, but the amount of people that killed in this.

JULIAN MCMAHON: It's unbelievable. It's writing about life for people doing it hard and the history of people who were getting...

REPORTER: Before this cell, before you came to Bali, what were the first steps that brought you here?

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: Well, basically a friend of mine that I went to uni with asked me to come to a dinner and asked me if I wanted to join a gang. I sort of laughed at that. I was never involved in this in high school, yeah. I was, like, yeah, I'll come to dinner, sitting around dinner, they were talking about all this type of stuff. It was kind of funny to me, like, they pay for dinner and the nightclub afterwards and stuff like that so I was like "Yeah".

REPORTER: So it was sort of a party and drug scene going on.


REPORTER: There's a huge risk, whether you recognise it or not. You must have felt there was a risk. What was the reward?

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: Pay cheque. Easy pay cheque.

REPORTER: What were your circumstances before that - There's easier ways to make money than risking your life.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: Yeah, thinking back, yes, it's, like, because, you know, like, it's just the lifestyle, all the people that were living, you know you want to be like those people, get the girls like those people, and I was hoping to buy a car, hoping to start a business. Those are the sort of the things like I didn't see, like, myself working in the mail room for the next 50 years of my life. I thought "No, I can't do this", then you see all these people like in night clubs with nice BMWs, and nice Mercedes and there's always chicks there, and they was buying drinks for everyone and you think "Fuck", how do you do this on a mail room salary. So...

REPORTER: You've been given a death sentence, but you also are dealing in death. You weren't a drug user yourself, but the people that were going to receive these drugs - their lives were probably going to be destroyed. Did you think that at the time. Do you think it now?

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: No. Can I be a little bit more clear - I have never actually sold heroin to - you know, like a user, like a junkie or somebody just ask me to pick up something and then bring it over here, and that's the end of my involvement, you know.

REPORTER: OK. So you're arms length but you are still in the middle. You are the key part of a deadly trade.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: That's what I was trying to say. You know, you see stuff on the TV and stuff like that, yeah. You see stuff about junkies, you know, how life is, but you don't have any feeling, you know. It doesn't - you don't know any junkies, right. Since I've been here, I know I fucked up. Before you think only the drugs that I was close to was probably ecstasy, marijuana, and that's it.

NEWS REPORT: Shackled together Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan said nothing as they arrived at Denpasar Court.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: With the whole court case and stuff, I don't think we took it seriously. The press was all there, everybody was joking, laughing, the police were laughing. It was like a big media spectacle, yeah.

REPORTER: And then the joke turned pretty sour, pretty quickly.


NEWS REPORT: Andrew Chan was taken from the holding cell and entered the court with an air of inevitability.

REPORTER: How did you rate your chances then. What did you think would happen?

ANDREW CHAN: I don't know, we had a lawyer then. He said 10 years maximum. I was just thinking "10 years - could live with that, I thought to myself I could live with it".

NEWS REPORT: He sat impassively as the judge read out his lengthy verdict.

ANDREW CHAN: It increased from 10 to 15, 15 to 20, 20, and up and up and up and up. I could have picked up and started screaming and kicking, but I thought to myself "If I'm going to do that, what am I achieving nothing."

NEWS REPORT: With the death penalty handed down a clearly distressed Myuran Sukumaran knew he almost certainly faced the same fate.

REPORTER: Do you remember the moment when they announced their intention to kill you?


REPORTER: Tell me.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: It was pretty shocking - Pretty confused. There was a bunch of people who shouted out like in support of it. Anti-drugs people or something over there, and they started screaming and cheering when they found out the death sentence.

REPORTER: Well, it's a grim reality. There still would be people that would applaud your death. How do you deal with that?

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: Yeah. I try to - not to think about it. I get a lot of mail saying that I deserve the death sentence, you know - yeah, a lot of stuff like that.

REPORTER: From Australia?


REPORTER: Do you respond?


JULIAN MCMAHON: Well, I can certainly say it would be a mistake to shoot them. They were bloody idiots, and they deserve to be in jail for a long time. The question is should they also deserve to be taken out and shot.

Julian has asked that question before and it was answered brutally in the case of Australian Van Nguyen, arrested with drugs in Singapore.

NEWS REPORT: Mrs Van Nguyen prayed in a chapel in the agonising time before her son was put to death.

JULIAN MCMAHON: He was executed on 2 December at 6:00am - 2005.

He is completely rehabilitated, completely reformed, completely focussed on doing what is good, and now they are going to kill him. Thank you.

For Julian McMahon, it's sobering to say the least that Van Nguyen's rehabilitation and good character didn't deliver a last-minute reprieve.

JULIAN MCMAHON: The last time I saw him was the day before he died.

REPORTER: Can you tell us of that?

JULIAN MCMAHON: Well, I was with him for a while - I am not sure how I could summarise that meeting. You know, it was - we were very close. And we spoke about very private things, and... ..moving on.

We said it plenty of times before, we just have to say it again. You just have to remain calm and focused. Don't get overexcited, don't get depressed. Whatever happens, just be steady.


It's the evening before their final courtroom appearance. Andrew Chan, and Myuran Sukumaran will make the most important speech they have ever made, their last chance to plead for their lives.

JULIAN MCMAHON: If you go back to 2006 on the trial, the first appeal, and the appeal to the Supreme Court, you had three losses in a row. Death sentence three times. So, just remain steady about it all. I know you are, but I don't want you to get, you know, too optimistic.

ANDREW CHAN: Like a Grand Final.

JULIAN MCMAHON: Like a Grand Final.


GEORGE NEGUS: Andrew Chan and lawyer Julian McMahon on the eve of the final appeal. Mark Davis will continue his story as their families anxiously wait to discover the fate of their sons.


As we speak the condemned 'Bali Nine' members, Andrew Chan, and Myuran Sukumaran are appealing against their death sentence, it's their last chance to have the penalty commuted. In Mark Davis's exclusive profile we heard how dreams of the So-called good life had been the motivation for them to take the enormous risk of becoming heroin traffickers, the upshot now is they are literally pleading for their lives.

REPORTER: Mark Davis

Denpasar District Court, the day has been set aside to hear the pleas of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

RAJINI SUKUMARAN: In the night when you go to sleep, you know, the last thing in your mind before you fall asleep is "When is my son going to come home?", and as soon as I wake up in the morning, that's what I have, that is what is in my mind. It's hard for me to actually go on day to day like cooking and shopping and doing housework. It's really hard. I really sort of miss him, and... ..I just want him back with the family. I just want to see the kids together.

CHINTHU SUKUMARAN: She worries a lot about us, and, you know, she keeps us close, and, yeah, it's been pretty hard on her.

BRINTHA SUKUMARAN: I think sometimes she struggles to let us do things on our own because she always wants to keep us close to her, so... The media was pretty much telling everyone who he was, and they're so loud that whatever we said meant nothing. I felt like people have already judged Myuran and made a judgment about our family.

RAJINI SUKUMARAN: My daughter was studying and she couldn't continue her studies. It was too much for her to handle. You know. She couldn't concentrate. And children sort of didn't go out much and they still don't. We sort of kept to ourselves.

JULIAN MCMAHON: You'd be shooting two young men who are genuinely sorry, who are teaching lots of other prisoners how to get a job when those other prisoners leave jail. I ask rhetorically - why would you shoot them. Why would you shoot people like that.

MICHAEL CHAN: Emotionally it's been a big rollercoaster ride, you know, from what did we do wrong as a family or what did mum and dad do wrong bringing him up, where did he detour.

ANDREW CHAN (Translation): I apologise to the Indonesian people, I also apologise to my family and I realise that my actions have brought shame and suffering to my whole family.

MICHAEL CHAN: What would I do if it did happen? Most days I tend to just block it out.

ANDREW CHAN (Translation): If I am pardoned; I hope that one day I will be able to have my own family and work as a pastor so I can give guidance to young people. I can still contribute a great deal during my life.

There'll be no more words to be spoken in court by Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. All the talking now will be by their Indonesian council, Mulya Lubis, one of the most prominent lawyers in Indonesia.

MULYA LUBIS, LAWYER: That penalty is not a just sentence.

Over three more days he'll be arguing the finer points of constitutional law and hearing from other witnesses. Andrew and Myran's job is done. Before returning to prison Andrew has a chance to catch up with his girlfriend Farah, whom he met in Kerobokan.

FARAH (Translation): I visited my friend's boyfriend and saw him.

REPORTER: Was it love at first sight?

FARAH (Translation): Oh yes! My heart was racing; like that. And then he kissed me. Yes, you kissed me.

SCOTT RAMSAY: Welcome to Scott Ramsay's.

Back at the prison, there's a cook-up going on in the cell of 'Bali Nine' Matthew Norman, whose shared room also serves as the gym.

ANDREW CHAN: What sauce are you going to make?

SCOTT RAMSAY: Barbecue, honey, mustard.

MATTHEW NORMAN: You can kick and scream, at the end of the day you are still going to be here, you may as well make the most of it, do what you can to pass the time.

More than anyone Matthew knows what it's like for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran to stare down a death sentence. He was on one as well until commuted to life.

MATTHEW NORMAN: There was a time when I was on the death penalty I thought "What the fuck is the point?" I realised it doesn't matter what I do in here, it still affects my family so I may as well be positive and healthy just for them because whatever I do affects them, and sure we fucked up, so we have to make the best of it for the family and stuff. I guess everyone's perspective of Myuran Sukumaran, and Andrew Chan, back in Australia, is what they read through the media, to me they are just friends.

REPORTER: You are standing in front in a bureaucratic organised system and someone steps up and says "And we are now going to kill you.", how do you cope with that.

ANDREW CHAN: It made me look at maybe one day I won't get up. One day I possibly won't have the chance to get up. So it's put me on a different angle to look at things differently, to look at things differently. Probably to cherish life a lot more than what I did.

REPORTER: Where are we off to?

ANDREW CHAN: Going down to the church service.

Andrew has become a practising Christian but doesn't wish to talk about it. He knows many are cynical about prison yard conversions.

ANDREW CHAN: Yes, it brings me a fair bit of comfort, yeah.

But much of his day is spent in prayer or religious study.

ANDREW CHAN: Better in my mind - makes me want to become a better person today and not tomorrow. I live every day as it comes. I live it though as my last. I'll make sure I've lived a good life, that I'm happy with, anyway. Really. That's the English service, and generally I run worship with Anwar right there, the guy singing now.

REPORTER: It's an awesome wait. Do you consider this, do you consider the death penalty that it may be imposed on you.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: Yes. Almost every night.

REPORTER: It's in the night-time because you are busy in the day.


REPORTER: Do you get to talk to anyone about it?


REPORTER: Andrew is in the same situation - do you talk about it together.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: Don't talk about it.

REPORTER: When your family comes to visit.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: No, I don't talk about it.

For the past 18 months Myuran has thrown himself into creating activities and workshops at the prison. English classes, computer classes and art sales that have funded, amongst other things, this screen print room.

REPORTER: Obviously the prison can't afford to give you this sort of stuff.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: You have to be very creative. You have to be very entrepreneurial.

With other prisoners he set up a small business selling T-shirts and artwork.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: Maybe not everybody will buy a painting, but everybody will buy a T-shirt for souvenir. Do you want to see some designs? Remember the painting, did you see it?

REPORTER: In the gallery. Yes.

The clothing label kingpin, a take on the tag he was given with devastating outcome by the Australian media.

REPORTER: What is the brand?

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: Kingpin clothing.

REPORTER: That's your name?

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: That's what they call me, kingpin.

REPORTER: That's what they call you in the media.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: Yes, Andrew was the Godfather and I was the kingpin. First they call me the enforcer.

REPORTER: You were the tough one - Marshal art expert.

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: I did three months of training and I became a martial arts expert.

ANDREW CHAN: Here I am living with my parents, how many Godfathers do you know living with their parents.

Yes. I probably have a few thousand in savings and things. Had a car, had a bike. That's about it. You know. I didn't have a house.

REPORTER: A partly flippant question, but possibly a revealing one, what sort of a car did you drive?

ANDREW CHAN: A 1991 Hyundai S Coupe it's almost like a Datsun 20B.

Myuran Sukumaran's family are visiting a gallery in Denpasar for an exhibition of prisoners artwork, including many from Myuran.

BRINTHA SUKUMARAN: He used to draw when he was younger.

It's the first time in a week that I have seen Myuran Sukumaran's sister Brintha smile.

BRINTHA SUKUMARAN: This painting Myuran actually wanted to call it the 'The Brady Bunch'. That is Myran.... Matthew. Probably Scott.

REPORTER: Are you showing something to your family as well, is that part of it?

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: Yes, trying to do stuff that they can be proud of.

REPORTER: And are they proud of you?


It's the second day of the hearing, a day for expert witnesses to be called, and all eyes turn when the Governor of the prison Pak Siswanto enters the court.

JULIAN MCMAHON: Now, I was very nervous when the Governor of the prison came, because I didn't really know what he was going to say.

BAPAK SISWANTO (Translation): I am giving my view on the two sentenced to death. Since he has been in prison, he has demonstrated good behaviour. So Myuran has made a great contribution to the prison, among other things, he has helped give English courses to inmates of the Denpasar prison and also computer courses. He has also done sewing - that is how Myuran has participated there

JULIAN MCMAHON: He spoke with a great deal of authority and just said it as he saw it.

Over 20 minutes Pak Siswanto gives details of the programs that Myuran and Andrew have been running.

BAPAK SISWANTO (Translation): I strongly believe, as the prison governor, that it has had a very great influence. He has been sentenced to death;

Tells how organising those programs have improved them and, more importantly, given others a chance to follow the same path. And then Pak Siswanto offers a personal opinion, a stunning one for a government official.

BAPAK SISWANTO (Translation): If the death penalty is carried out and he is executed - for me personally, that would be a shame. As an individual, I can't oppose it, but instinctively my spirit says "œcan't he be pardoned?" Can't state officials show mercy? I'll leave matters of law to you legal experts, but since I have been asked for my personal opinion - I've given it.

JULIAN MCMAHON: I would say that is unprecedented. I haven't seen that in any place in the world, or even read about it. He's come in with the full authority of his office and said "We have rehabilitated them, they want to be rehabilitated, it's been successful therefore they should not be executed, and I'm the Governor of the prison and I know what I'm talking about".

Pak Siswanto may be a judge of character but he's not a judge of the court. Their decision will be made in the months ahead following a final hearing on Thursday. Those weeks and months are likely to be the longest in the lives of Andrew Chan, and Myuran Sukumaran.

REPORTER: What hope do you have of your final chances?

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: I hope to get a life sentence. I hope not to be executed.

REPORTER: What sort of life would it be for you?

MYURAN SUKUMARAN: It will be a life.

REPORTER: Better than no life.


GEORGE NEGUS: Philosophical to say the least. That exclusive report was filmed and reported by Mark Davis with research and production assistance by 'Dateline's resident Indonesian expert and Bahasa speaker, Melanie Morrison. And Mark's with me here in the studio, colleague to colleague Mark, let me say, extremely well done. It was harrowing but gripping. The last comments that we heard from the Governor were startling, he basically said he didn't think they should be executed at all. Is he likely to turn the whole thing around or will those comments fall on deaf ears.

MARK DAVIS, VIDEO JOURNALIST: No, I don't think it will fall on deaf ears, I don't think it will turn it around but it was a remarkable moment, quite a chilling one really. I have met this guy of course, to get into the prison was a week of negotiation.

GEORGE NEGUS: Did you expect that from him?

MARK DAVIS: No, very stern character, a stern guy. I thought he would push the reform program a bit. But I didn't expect him to come out and say it. It's a brave act on his behalf.


MARK DAVIS: An act of great integrity, it was quite a moving day.

GEORGE NEGUS: It certainly was. Let's talk about the two guys - I had to keep reminding myself that they were in fact heroin traffickers.

MARK DAVIS: I had to remind myself that in fact they were going to be killed. You spend times with guys like that.

GEORGE NEGUS: For all intents and purposes, if you came from Mars and you looked at those two guys talking to you, you would not imagine that they were not anything other than two decent well brought up guys looking for a future that don't look as though they might have one. What do you think about them?

MARK DAVIS: It's a difference between what you read about someone and when you meet them. To be honest with you, I read up on Sukumaran, in particular, I was quite intimidated. When I was going into that prison, Myuran Sukumaran was the enforcer, the tough guy, the ring leader and met this very gentle considered polite...

GEORGE NEGUS: Not your run of the mill picture of a heroin trafficker. Well, the prison itself - The Bali Hilton - doesn't look the worst place in the world.

MARK DAVIS: In a way, you know, it got under the Governor's skin that it's portrayed as a hellhole. He has put in a reform program, he's gone "Right, I'll put an end to this, I'll show you what a good prison it is", and he is making efforts - it's not paradise, it's poor, food is not too good, but it's human. Women come in, and there's kids around and there's four, three hours of visiting hours, people come and go, and hang out. It's a tough place, but I can promise you the place of my nightmare is Silverwater in Sydney, not there.

GEORGE NEGUS: I'd like to talk to you more about Julian McMahon but I don't think we can, he's been there before. Does he make a living out of banging his head against brick walls?

MARK DAVIS: no, he makes a living as a very highly esteemed Melbourne barrister - there is a group of them that became very concerned about how that case was being run, they lost three appeals and their options were narrowing, so in a way they are on very slender grounds for appeal now but there a very powerful group of barristers looking after them as best they can.

GEORGE NEGUS: What would you say to Australians, many Australians, what still believe that if these guys are executed, that's - that's no more than they should receive, having met these guys, should they go down or what.

MARK DAVIS: No of course they should not go down. Come on, they are not dangerous psychopaths, they are human beings, and that deserve a break, and they have shown that, you know, they can lead a good life. I think that's what they are doing their best to show. Unfortunately, of course, Van Nguyen, the guy caught in Singapore had a similar transformation and he was killed and I remember thinking "They won't kill him, he'll get a last-minute reprieve", it a shock, possibly a shock to the whole country. You need to bear that in mind when people say "It might not happen", at the moment they are sentenced to be shot. Until something changes, that is what will happen.

GEORGE NEGUS: It's not over yet.

MARK DAVIS: Probably the next couple of months we'll hear a court judgment.

GEORGE NEGUS: You could find yourself back there.

MARK DAVIS: Hopefully not.

GEORGE NEGUS: I agree. Mark will be online shortly for an hour-long live chat about his report, how he got access to the prison, regardless of rights or wrong to the two Australians, the engrossing interviews. There's a photo gallery of who is who.











Original Music composed by


14th November 2010