Subject: AGE: Meeting Behind Bars Led To Marriage

East Timorese Revolutionary Takes To The Hills For Wedding Lindsay Murdoch, Indonesia Correspondent

07/04/2000 The Age Page 6

JAKARTA -- They married in the hills above Dili, the former revolutionary leader and his pregnant partner from Melbourne.

Jose "Xanana'' Gusmao, aware of Catholic Church sensitivities towards remarriages, arranged a group of 50 close family and friends to be present at the ceremony on Sunday in the chapel of the Dare seminary, 15kilometres south of the East Timorese capital.

The bride, Kirsty Sword, 34, wore a traditional Timorese dress, pearl necklace and her hair tied in a bun for her marriage with Mr Gusmao, 54. She is due to give birth to their baby in late September.

``It was a beautiful wedding ... we all had cake at the reception that followed,'' said one of the guests, who were asked not to talk to the media about the ceremony.

The head of the Catholic Church in East Timor , Bishop Carlos Belo, was not at the ceremony which was conducted by the Vicar-General, Father Jose Antonio da Costa. Helping out was Father Raphael dos Santos, a bearded priest who was lucky to survive an attack by pro-Jakarta militiamen in the East Timorese town of Liquica in April last year.

Among the guests were Portugal's diplomatic representative in Jakarta, Ana Gomez, and Mr Gusmao's sister Armadino.

Mr Gusmao, who is tipped to be the first leader of an independent East Timor , divorced his first wife of 28 years, Emilia Baptista, after he was released from prison last year. Mrs Baptista and her two children in their early 20s, Nito and Zeni, left East Timor to live in Melbourne in 1990, two years before Indonesian soldiers captured Mr Gusmao.

Mr Gusmao met his new wife while he was in a Jakarta jail in 1994. At the time she was working in Jakarta, first as an English teacher and later as an officer for the Overseas Service Bureau's Australian Volunteers Abroad program.

The relationship became strong after Mr Gusmao was transferred in September last year from jail to a nearby house where he was able to receive guests and work to help end the Timor conflict.

Ms Sword assumed the role of his secretary as she mobilised humanitarian support for other Timorese prisoners in Indonesian jails.

Ms Sword graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1987, the second child of Rosalie and Brian Sword, who live in Northcote.

She first travelled to East Timor in 1990 and visited the territory again the next year as researcher and interpreter for the Yorkshire television crew that filmed the massacre of scores of people at the Santa Cruz ceremony.

Almost all East Timorese political groups want to see the softly spoken Mr Gusmao become the tiny country's first president when a United Nations administration withdraws in a couple of years. Mr Gusmao has repeatedly said he does not want the job, but other Timorese leaders say they will be able to push him to accept it.

Yesterday Mr Gusmao was travelling to New Zealand, where he is to attend a conference on the impact of the East Timor crisis on the Asia and Pacific region.

Until now Ms Sword has been reluctant to be seen in public with him but friends said they expect that will now change.


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