Subject: SMH: Dili film-maker denied entry to Australia

Sydney Morning Herald August 10, 2000

Dili film-maker denied entry to Australia

By ANDREW CLENNELL in Canberra

A British film-maker who captured famous footage of the 1991 Dili massacre has been barred from visiting Australia after he tried to enter the country under a false name in 1995.

Max Stahl, who filmed Death of a Nation with journalist John Pilger, wants to visit Australia for the Walkley Awards ceremony.

He admits that providing a false name in 1995 was a mistake, but says he did so to get into East Timor at a politically sensitive time and to protect himself from arrest.

He tried to enter Australia again in 1996, and Sydney MP Mr Laurie Ferguson wrote on his behalf to the Immigration Minister, Mr Ruddock.

Mr Ruddock replied then that Stahl could apply for a visa but pointed out his record.

Last year Stahl, whose full name is Max Christopher Wenner (Stahl is his mother's name), tried to make a transit stop in Darwin on his way home from Dili but was stopped by Australian officials.

In the 1995 incident, Stahl applied for an Australian visa in London, using his real name.

He returned to the Australian Consulate with a false passport provided by the Timorese resistance movement to apply for a second Australian visa which he planned to use to leave East Timor. He would then use the visa in his real name to attend a conference in Australia.

He was caught out when a consular official recognised him.

"I was told by many people in Timorese resistance and others that I was on the black list," Stahl said yesterday from his home in London.

In a letter to the Australian embassy in 1997, Stahl said: "For reasons of personal security and the perceived threat to the lives of contacts and colleagues in East Timor, it was ... essential that I should not enter, reside or attempt to leave Indonesia under my legal name.''

Stahl said he was arrested for filming the 1991 Dili massacre and his passport was "recorded".

A spokesman for Mr Ruddock said last night that the Government rejected any suggestion Stahl had been refused "on the basis of activities in East Timor".

"All people who are seeking a visa to enter Australia must meet bona fide requirements ... nobody is above the law.''


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