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Sebastian Gomez's grave
Sebastian Gomez's mother visits his graveside.

santa cruz massacre
The aftermath of the cemetry massacre [Photo by Steve Cox]

santa cruz massacre

In October 1991, Sebastian Gomez, a Timorese youth, was shot dead by East Timorese agents for the Indonesian government.

On November 12th 1991, several hundred Timorese were mown down as they attended the funeral in the Santa Cruz cemetery in Dili. By chance, the shootings were filmed.

Broadcast on world television, the killings focused international attention on East Timor. In the UN, there were calls for immediate action.

A 'special commission of inquiry' was set up to investigate. Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans congratulated the Jakarta regime for such a 'positive and helpful' reaction and said that he was 'reasonably happy' with the commission's finding that only 19 people had been killed. Although this figure was later upped to 50 following the outraged reaction of foreign witnesses, the true number is almost 300.

And it was only recently discovered that after the Santa Cruz incident, the wounded were mercilessly tracked down and slain, a fact still denied by the Indonesian and Australian governments.

Witnesses in 'Death of a Nation' disclosed that 150 wounded were killed through the night.

'They might have simply gone bush,' suggested Evans.

Despite offering no evidence to back up their death toll, the pandering Australian government proceeded to publicly attack the credibility of both John Pilger and the witnesses of the actual event.

This was a propaganda gift for the Jakarta regime which published what it called the Australian Prime Minister's 'official judgement' on 'Death of a Nation' and released it to the press wherever it was shown throughout the world.

Says Pilger: "I doubt if there has been another time when an Australian Prime Minister and a Senior Cabinet Minister have used their high office vehemently to deny evidence, in a work neither had seen, of murderous violence carried out by a ruthless dictatorship in an illegally occupied territory.

'It was a shameful episode, as was their silence when the United Nations Commission on Human Rights confirmed the testimony of the film's witnesses and Amnesty International reported that not only were they 'credible', but their 'allegations that civilians were deliberately killed or 'disappeared' after the massacre have been corroborated by other reliable sources.'

Click here for further atrocities in East Timor]

Indonesian government minister Nugroho Wisnumurti?s denial that genocide took place in East Timor or that Indonesian troops murdered anyone at the Santa Cruz massacre of 1991.

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