|Subject: SMH: Banned: American doctor treating
victims of militia attacks
Date: Sat, 07 Aug 1999 10:01:34 -0400
From: "John M. Miller" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Friday, August 6, 1999
Banned: doctor treating victims of militia attacks
By LINDSAY MURDOCH in Dili and MALCOLM BROWN
An American doctor credited with saving the lives of scores of East Timorese attacked by pro-Jakarta militias in Dili has been refused entry to Indonesia and put on a flight to Darwin.
Dr Dan Murphy said he was told on arrival in Bali early yesterday en route to Dili that he was on an Indonesian immigration blacklist, even though he had obtained a valid visa at the Indonesian Consulate in Darwin to work in Dili under sponsorship of the Catholic relief agency Caritas.
Dr Murphy, an outspoken critic of violence against East Timorese villagers, said from Darwin he was upset that he could not return immediately to East Timor where there is a chronic shortage of doctors and many people refuse to be treated in Indonesian-run hospitals.
"People are dying there," he said. "I just want to get back."
Often the only doctor available at night and with scant medicines and basic equipment Dr Murphy, 55, once used a hacksaw to amputate a patient's leg to save his life.
He recruited several other foreign volunteer doctors, including Australians, and campaigned for donated medical supplies. He is not paid.
Dr Murphy was told to leave Dili last weekend after overstaying his visa by five days and flew to Darwin, where his visa was renewed without delay.
The Indonesian news agency Antara quoted the Immigration chief in Dili, Mr Guning, on Monday as saying Dr Murphy was "staying illegally for more than two months" and using a tourist visa to work as a doctor.
The Antara report also said Dr Murphy was "known to be an activist critical of the Indonesian Government, particularly the military". Unnamed sources had said he was involved in a recent clash between non-government organisations and militia groups opposing independence.
In Sydney yesterday, the Foreign Minister, Mr Downer, said he was "more optimistic about a solution being in sight [for East Timor] than I have been at any time since I have been involved in public life".
He regarded an announcement last week by the Indonesian opposition leader, Ms Megawati Sukarnoputri, that her party would accept the outcome of the coming ballot on independence was "a big turning point on the issue".
"I had dinner with Megawati on Wednesday night last week and spent a good part of that dinner trying to persuade her that she and her party should accept the ballot," he told the American Chamber of Commerce.
"I would like to feel my conversation helped." Mr Downer said the former deputy prime minister, Mr Tim Fischer, had been nominated to lead the Australian delegation to monitor the August 30 ballot.