Family of Bolivia shooting victim back calls for death probe

The family of an Irish man gunned down by Bolivian police tonight backed calls for an international probe into the killing.

Michael Dwyer’s distraught father Martin said they wanted answers in the hope his son’s name could be cleared.

Bolivian police claim the Tipperary native was one of three men killed in a hotel shoot-out with them on Thursday over an alleged plot to assassinate President Evo Morales.

Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin said yesterday he wanted a panel, with an Irish person on it, to investigate the 24-year-old’s death.

Mr Dwyer said: “We spoke to Michael Martin ourselves yesterday, he phoned, and we said that to him, that we would like to have some answers, whatever they could come up with.

“I think it’s a good idea having an inquiry. Hopefully something will come out of it then, to try and clear his name.”

Mr Dwyer said he was disgusted that pictures of his son, bloodied and in his underwear, appeared in newspapers after his death.

He said Michael would not have been capable of taking part in a shoot-out with state security forces.

Mr Martin said yesterday the Bolivian president had also made calls for an international inquiry and added the family deserved to know the full facts.

He also said he was shocked that pictures of Mr Dwyer’s bloodied body had been released to the media, branding it unacceptable.

Michael’s mother Caroline said her son was fun-loving, good natured, generous and had recently celebrated his sisters’ birthdays.

He also rang home on several occasions.

“Before he left he bought us all Christmas presents because he knew he wasn’t going to be here for Christmas,” Mrs Dwyer told RTÉ.

“He said he always remembered the important things – little brother’s birthday, he’d the nights out with the girls before he left for the birthdays, Ciara’s 21st birthday and Ashling had a birthday.”

Plans are under way to have the remains of the GMIT graduate brought home by the end of the week.

Irish officials held high-level talks with senior Bolivian government representatives yesterday in a bid to determine the circumstances surrounding the death and what progress they are making in their own investigations.

Michael, from Ballinderry, Co Tipperary, graduated last year from the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology with a degree in construction management.

It is understood he had been working with a local Galway security firm and was sent to Bolivia by the company to undergo training in November.

However, it is believed he was recruited to work in security for one of the other men killed – a Bolivian with Croatian citizenship who reportedly fought in the Balkan Wars with the Croatian militia.

Mr Dwyer said he believed his son had been working as a bodyguard for a Bolivian.

Bolivian police identified the third man shot dead as a Hungarian national and said they had also seized a cache of weapons.

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