Mother urges probe into son’s execution

Tipperary mother Caroline Dwyer yesterday appealed for an international panel to be appointed to investigate the "execution" by police in Bolivia of her 24-year-old son, Michael Dwyer.

Mother urges probe into son’s execution

Having just returned from a visit to the city where her son died five years ago, she pledged to continue the fight to clear his name and seek justice.

“Nothing will bring Michael back,” she said. “My son was an innocent victim. We will not give up in our search for the true facts.

“Michael was the victim of an ex-judicial killing. The manner of this killing was a flagrant abuse of the UN Convention of Human Rights and, in particular, the right to life. His killing is a human rights issue.”

Michael, from Brocka, Ballinderry, Co Tipperary, was killed in April 2009 in a police raid on a hotel room in Santa Cruz. Police said the raid was part of an investigation into an alleged assassination plot targeting Bolivian president Evo Morales.

Ms Dwyer said it was clear there could not have been a shoot-out, as was claimed at the time. She also wants a probe into new evidence that her son was seen alive at the airport after the raid.

She said yesterday the family believe they will never find closure.

She said the purpose of her Bolivian trip was to see where her son had spent his last months and to make a formal complaint to the Bolivian government.

“It is a living nightmare finding your son has been killed and in the most horrific circumstances,” she said in Dublin yesterday. “We are never as a family going to get over this. On this trip, it became clear we are not going to get closure.”

Ms Dwyer, who visited the Las Americas Hotel in Santa Cruz where her son was killed, told how her family, including daughter Aisling, were followed during their trip to South America.

She admitted to feeling intimidated and scared after being told police had been looking for her after she had visited the hotel room where her son was thought to have lost his life.

“That put a different complexion on the trip. Up to that, I felt safe,” she said. “It changed. I felt intimidated and scared and suddenly I got it very clearly why others said they were afraid for their lives.”

Ms Dwyer said there was also a “breach to a room” and possible interference with emails of the family.

“There was a sinister reaction to our presence,” she said. “The Bolivian government were nervous about us being there.”

Accompanied by Irish and EU diplomats, Ms Dwyer and her daughter met for almost two hours with members of Bolivia’s foreign, justice, and interior ministries. They raised concerns about the ballistic and autopsy reports carried out and the handling of evidence.

Ms Dwyer said an autopsy — conducted when her son’s body was repatriated to Ireland — concluded that he had died from a shot to the heart and had also been shot four times in the back.

She said that the Bolivian junior ministers had offered condolences on her son’s death but insisted that the trial of two men arrested during the hotel raid, along with more than 30 other Bolivians, must conclude before any other steps are taken.

The Dwyer family will also bring their case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Washington, DC where a petition to have the shooting re-examined has already been lodged.

“We want an international inquiry. Michael was executed. We want to restore our son’s good name. We want justice,” Ms Dwyer said.

“We are never as a family going to get over this. There is no evidence that Michael was involved in any wrongdoing. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. We want those responsible for executing Michael to he held accountable.”

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