Belfast Telegraph

Bolivia commits to international probe into Tipperary man Michael Dwyer's death

The Bolivian Government has committed to an independent international inquiry into the death of Michael Dwyer, shot dead by the country's security forces.

The Tipperary man was shot at a hotel in 2009.

His mother Caroline met the Bolivian minister for foreign affairs and defence minister on Saturday night.

She said: "They also committed to an independent, international investigation. T hey indicated that they were interested in facilitating that process."

She told RTE she remained concerned that a separate but related judicial process ongoing in Bolivia could cause further delay.

The meeting took place as Bolivian president Evo Morales is on a two-day visit to Ireland, the first time the country's head of state has visited Ireland.

The trip is focused on building trade and political links as well as issues like climate change.

He met President Michael D Higgins at Aras an Uachtarain.

Mr Dwyer, 24, and two other men were shot dead during a police operation at a hotel in the city of Santa Cruz, while the remaining two members of their group were arrested.

The Irish victim, from Brocka, Ballinderry, Co Tipperary, was killed in April 2009 over an alleged political assassination plot targeting President Morales.

His mother has spent time in Bolivia pressing for support for an independent investigation into the shooting of her son, whose body was found at the Las Americas Hotel.

The Dwyer family has already complained to the United Nations' special rapporteur on extra-judicial killings after receiving new information on the killing.

They were given photographs of Mr Dwyer at an airport on the day he was killed.

Marcelo Soza, the former Bolivian chief prosecutor who is seeking refugee status in Brazil following the killing, has told the family that he believed Mr Dwyer was unarmed when killed. Post-mortem reports have also indicated that Mr Dwyer was unarmed.

Mr Soza claimed there was no shoot-out in the hotel, as initially alleged, and no evidence that Mr Dwyer was knowingly involved in an assassination plot.

He said he was appointed to investigate the case days before the killing.

Mr Dwyer was employed by I-RMS on Shell's Corrib gas project in Co Mayo before travelling to Bolivia for further training as a bodyguard.

Hungarian Elod Toaso, who was with him before his death, told a trial into his involvement in terrorism that the Irishman survived the bloody hotel raid at Santa Cruz in April 2009 - where it was reported he had been shot - and was later seen alive at the city's international airport.

He claimed Mr Dwyer was probably summarily executed at Viru Viru airport.

A spokeswoman for the Dwyer family said Saturday night's meeting was a high-level one which lasted for 80 minutes.

She said President Morales sent his condolences for the first time.

The family's main request was for an international investigation.

The Bolivian representatives said they were waiting for another case to finish.

The spokesman said the family stressed the "urgency of capturing evidence", adding: "They said they would not stand in the way of an investigation."

She said some people had not yet been interviewed and the family hoped a structure would be in place to proceed with an investigation before the seventh anniversary of Mr Dwyer's death in April.


From Belfast Telegraph