Dwyer family hope to meet minister

THE family of an Irishman who may have been lured to his death in an anti-terrorist shoot-out in Bolivia hope to meet the Foreign Affairs Minister Micheál Martin again this month as part of their campaign for an international enquiry into his death.

Michael Dwyer’s family is expected to raise claims made by United States diplomats, and exposed by WikiLeaks, that Mr Dwyer may have been lured to his death as part of a plot by the South American country’s own intelligence services.

Mr Dwyer, 24, from Ballinderry, Co Tipperary, was one of three people shot dead by police during a raid on a hotel in Bolivia on April 16, 2009 over an alleged plot to assassinate president Evo Morales.

Dwyer died alongside Bolivian-born Eduardo Rózsa Flores and Hungarian Árpad Magyarosi. Two others were arrested on suspicion of planning assassinations.

WikiLeaks has now released a diplomatic cable from the US embassy in La Paz which quoted a local source as saying the group Dwyer was with had been hired by Bolivian intelligence to mount a phoney terrorist campaign.

This would then be used to justify the persecution of Morales’s opponents.

Bolivian investigators later claimed to have found email correspondence linking one of the men shot with Dwyer to Istvan Belovai, a former Hungarian military intelligence officer who defected to the US in 1990 and later became a CIA agent.

But US diplomats say this was a hoax and Dwyer was lured to his death as part of a plot by Bolivia’s own intelligence services aimed at Morales opponents.

The source told diplomats that Dwyer and the other two people were shot dead in order to “erase tracks”.

The cable said the embassy could not verify the claims but described the source as well placed and reliable.

The cable was sent a month after Mr Dwyer’s death and was provided by WikiLeaks to Spanish daily newspaper El Pais, which published extracts last Thursday.

A postmortem carried out in Bolivia on Mr Dwyer’s remains wrongly concluded he had been shot six times.

State pathologist Prof Marie Cassidy, who examined the body when it was repatriated to Ireland, told an inquest in Dublin that Mr Dwyer died from a single gunshot through the heart.

She said the bullet used, known as a “dumdum” bullet, was designed to cause massive internal damage to the target, literally “stopping them dead in their tracks”. It was rarely used.

Dr Cassidy said the fatal shot had been fired by somebody standing over Mr Dwyer, most likely as he was sitting up in bed.

Sacha Llorenti, Bolivia’s interior minister, dismissed the leaked cable as “gossip”.

The Department of Foreign Affairs says it does not comment on WikiLeaks releases.

A spokesperson pointed out that the minister has met with the Dwyer family on several occasions.

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