Belfast Telegraph

Mother hopes for truth in Bolivia

The mother of a security worker shot dead by Bolivian special forces is attempting to personally pressure the country's leaders to support an international inquiry into his killing.

Michael Dwyer, 24, from Brocka, Ballinderry, Co Tipperary, was shot dead in April 2009 over an alleged political assassination plot targeting president Evo Morales.

His mother Caroline is to spend five days in Bolivia next week pressing for support for an independent investigation into the shooting of her son, whose body was found at the Las Americas Hotel in Santa Cruz.

No meetings have been confirmed with Bolivian government officials or leaders ahead of the visit, but Ms Dwyer will visit the hotel and meet people who were connected to him.

"This is a very important visit in finding out the full truth about Michael's killing," she said.

"While we have not had confirmation of meetings with Bolivian officials, we are very hopeful that they will be granted.

"It is over five years since Michael was killed. While we now have a significant body of information that changes the narrative developed by the Bolivian authorities at the time of his death, it is important for us to secure an agreement from the authorities for an international investigation so that a clear and comprehensive account of what happened to Michael can be developed for the record.

"I hope that this visit will be the start of some closure on the killing of my son Michael."

The Dwyers made a supplementary complaint to the United Nations' special rapporteur on extra-judicial killings last November 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, told the Dwyers last summer that he believed Mr Dwyer was unarmed when killed.

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

Mr Soza says he was appointed to investigate the case days before the killing.

Post mortem reports have also indicated that Mr Dwyer was unarmed when he was killed.

A security worker, he was employed by I-RMS on Shell's Corrib gas project in Mayo before travelling to Bolivia for further training as a bodyguard.

Eyewitness testimony from Hungarian Elod Toaso, who was with Mr Dwyer in the run-up to his death, has 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 likely summarily executed at Viru Viru airport.

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