Andrew Chan, one of the two Australian men who were sentenced to death in Indonesia for leading the Bali Nine drug-trafficking ring, proposed to his girlfriend after learning that his request for clemency was rejected, according to Australian news reports Tuesday (local time).
Chan, 31, asked for the hand of Febyanti Herewila, also known as Feby, last month and she accepted immediately, according to News Corp Australia. The proposal's announcement followed a delay in the impending executions of Chan and fellow Bali Nine convict Myuran Sukumaran, though their cases might be resolved as early as this week. Both are expected to face a firing squad.
“Andrew is one of the strongest, kindest people I have ever met,” Feby told News Corp. “I have never seen him as just a prisoner or someone who is on death row. I love him for who he is. And I see what he does for other people and that makes me love him more. If you ask me why do I love him, it’s because he also has weaknesses as well but he also has a lot of good things about him. I accept him the way he is. I am also very proud of him.”
Chan proposed in the presence of his parents, Ken and Helen, who were in Bali along with his three siblings, their spouses and 6-month-old nephew Kai.
— Bali Today (@Balitoday) March 9, 2015
Feby was not part of the group that visited the Bali Nine duo Monday in the first permitted visit since the two were transferred to Nusakambangan Island prison for their executions. Feby was reportedly staying in the port town Cilacap, the gateway to the prison island, and she had indicated she would visit as soon as possible. The next visit is scheduled for Wednesday.
Chan’s plea for clemency was rejected in late January, and Sukumaran’s plea was rejected in late December. Their executions were delayed until all outstanding legal actions were resolved, according to the Australian. Indonesia was said to be waiting on the outcome of a review of just one more case of a Filipino migrant also on death row before proceeding with the executions. That case was expected to be resolved as early as this week. "There is one felon whose legal action hasn't been resolved, so we'll wait for that so the executions can be carried out simultaneously," said Tedjo Edi Purdijatno, coordinating minister for politics, law and security, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Chan first met Feby, who is from Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in May 2012 through a mutual friend. She was a pastor helping with various programs in the Kerobokan prison where Chan and the others inmates were held since 2005 when they were arrested for trafficking 18 pounds of heroin. Chan and Feby began their relationship in early 2014, and Feby visited regularly as Chan continued his theological studies, eventually becoming an ordained minister last month.
Feby visited Chan on Valentine’s Day this year, and the two talked of plans to have children one day. They also discussed plans to set up a community center on Sabu Island, teaching music and providing young people a place to learn and play sports, according to News Corp.
Chan’s brother Michael and Feby had apparently tried to catch a glimpse of Chan as the two prisoners were transferred Thursday from Kerobokan in Bali to the penal island, but were blocked by guards, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Sukumaran took a drawing book and pencils with him, while Chan brought along a Bible his family gave him in the weeks after his arrest in 2005.