Belfast Telegraph

Family urges Bolivia shooting probe

The family of an Irish bodyguard shot dead by Bolivian security forces over an alleged presidential assassination plot has vowed never to stop fighting to clear his name.

Michael Dwyer's mother Caroline, father Martin and sister Aisling lobbied MEPs in Brussels for support in their campaign for an international inquiry into the April 2009 killing.

Police in Santa Cruz said Mr Dwyer was one of three men they killed in a hotel shoot-out after they uncovered a right-wing plot against president Evo Morales.

His mother Caroline Dwyer said: "It's as ridiculous today as it was three years ago when they made that claim."

The Dwyers, who accuse the Bolivian government of concocting the terrorism allegation and stonewalling them at every turn, have been lobbying EU officials to pile on the pressure for an international inquiry. They have also submitted documents to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Christof Heyns, in the hope of exercising further influence.

Only the autopsy results and the findings from ballistics tests have been given to the family. They claim these have been subsequently disputed by forensic experts in Ireland and the UK.

"The firing was in one direction and it was towards Michael. The evidence we have got shows - and it has been reviewed by forensic experts in the UK - from what they have pieced together from the ballistics evidence and from all the evidence available, there was no shoot-out, Michael never fired any guns," she said. "He was executed while he was asleep."

The 24-year-old, from Ballinderry in Co Tipperary, had gone to Bolivia to train in the security business and took up work in personal security while there. He had been a recent graduate from NUI Galway and had also worked as a guard on the Shell Corrib gas refinery in Mayo.

"We won't rest until we do secure (an inquiry)," Mrs Dwyer told RTE. "We are hoping that we will eventually get the answers and make sure that those responsible for authorising and killing Michael are held accountable, fully accountable."

An inquest carried out by the Dublin County Coroner in October 2009 found that Mr Dwyer had died following a precise shot to the heart and that the autopsy carried out in Bolivia had been incomplete.

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