Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian health minister lashed out at the Discovery Channel on Sunday for exploiting a villager known as the "Tree Man" for a documentary, reports said.
Dede, who goes by one name and is dubbed the "Tree Man" because of massive bark-like warts growing on much of his body, was in a Discovery Channel documentary this month.
The growths entirely cover his hands in long, root-like tendrils that leave him unable to work.
"They have taken his image for free, then commercialised it. The man had received nothing," Siti Fadillah Supari was quoted saying by Detikcom news website after she met the 32-year-old Dede in a hospital in West Java.
Supari said that the Indonesian government would send a lawyer to Dede to help him recover his rights from the Discovery Channel.
The channel was not immediately available for comment.
Asked to comment on speculation Indonesia had barred Dede from travelling to the United States to receive treatment, she said: "The Indonesian government has yet to receive any request to bring him to the US. That's only a rumour."
Indonesian medical teams would cooperate with Anthony Gaspari, a dermatologist from the US University of Maryland -- who examined Dede as part of the documentary -- to treat Dede, she said.
"We will cooperate with Dr Anthony from Maryland who had taken his blood sample and specimen... We will treat him with medication as requested by him," the minister was quoted by AFP as telling local radio ElShinta.
Gaspari believes the massive growths are a combination of a virus which causes warts and a genetic disorder that means Dede's immune system is too weak to fight them off.
Indonesia may stop 'Tree Man' being treated in US report