The family of an Irish man shot dead in Bolivia over an alleged assassination plot say fresh evidence strengthens their calls for an independent international investigation into the killing.
Security worker Michael Dwyer, 24, from Co Tipperary, was reported to have been gunned down in a police shoot-out after getting mixed up in a right-wing attempt to kill the country’s president Evo Morales.
But his family said new eyewitness testimony before a court that Mr Dwyer had survived the bloody hotel raid at Santa Cruz in April 2009 and was later seen alive at the city’s international airport demanded a full inquiry.
Hungarian Elod Toaso, who was with Mr Dwyer in the run-up to his death, has told his trial in Bolivia for involvement in terrorism charges that the Irish man was likely summarily executed at Viru Viru airport.
In a statement, the Dwyer family said: “Elod Toaso’s testimony gives renewed urgency to our calls for an independent international investigation into Michael’s death.”
Mr Toaso said he was taken to the airport after the police raid on the Las Americas hotel and, although hooded with a t-shirt, recognised Mr Dwyer by a tattoo on his arm. He was there along with another member of their group, Mr Toaso has testified.
“I saw Michael Dwyer alive, he was to my right and Mario Tadic was to my left, also hooded,” he said in evidence.
“When the police realised I could see what was going on, they dragged me several metres away, beat me, they threatened me with a gun.”
The Dwyer family, who is meeting senior Irish government officials in the coming weeks to discuss the case and the new evidence, have renewed their calls for an independent probe in to the killing.
“We have been requesting such an investigation for the past four years,” the said.
“We have the full support of the Irish government, which has also publicly called for an international inquiry.”
Mr Dwyer’s mother Caroline, father Martin and sister Aisling, from Ballinderry in Co Tipperary, have accused the Bolivian government of concocting terrorism allegations and stonewalling them at every turn.
They have submitted documents to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions in their pursuit of answers about his death.
They said the NUI Galway graduate had gone to Bolivia to train in the security business and took up work in personal security while there.