Saturday 21 September 2019

Family gets video that claims to prove son's role in plot

Shane Phelan and Jeff Farrell in La Paz

THE family of the young Irishman shot dead by Bolivian police have been given a video which officials claim proves his involvement in a plot to assassinate a South American president.

The controversial footage was passed on to the family of Michael Dwyer after the Irish Independent obtained a copy of the video. Family representatives are expected to study the footage after the 24-year-old is buried today.

Hundreds of mourners are expected to turn out in support of Mr Dwyer's devastated parents, Martin and Caroline, at the funeral Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, in Terryglass, Co Tipperary.

A Bolivian prosecutor has claimed the grainy film, taken on a mobile phone, shows Mr Dwyer and three other men having a discussion in Spanish about explosives techniques and a plot to blow up a boat with President Evo Morales and Bolivian government ministers on board.

However, language experts who viewed the video for the Irish Independent last night said it was impossible to tell how the Bolivian authorities could decipher such an intricate plot from the grainy and partly inaudible footage.

Mr Dwyer and two of the men also alleged to be in the video -- Croatian citizen Eduardo Rozsa Flores (49) and Hungarian citizen Arpad Magyarosi (39) -- were shot dead by police in a hotel in Santa Cruz on April 16.

Mr Dwyer's family have rejected Bolivian claims that he was a mercenary involved in an assassination plot and the Irish, Hungarian and Croatian governments have all called for an international inquiry into the killings.

The two-minute video does not appear to provide conclusive evidence of Mr Dwyer's part in any plot. The quality is extremely poor, and it is impossible to make out what is being said in large parts of the footage. Bolivian prosecutor Marcelo Sosa claimed the footage showed alleged plot leader Flores standing in a garden speaking to Dwyer, Magyarosi and a fourth man.

Mr Sosa claimed the video had been deciphered by technical experts and showed the men were discussing how to create explosives. He said they discussed ANFO, a nitrate-based commercial explosive. He said they also discussed a meeting of the Bolivian government on a boat on Lake Titicaca and how they should have sent frogmen to blow up the boat.

Joking

However, while it is clear there was some discussion about the fact a government ship was on Lake Titicaca -- and what appears to be a joking reference to Irish frogmen -- the sound quality is too poor to make out a detailed plot of any sort or to easily identify who is speaking.

The only time an Irish-sounding voice is heard is when an expletive is uttered.

Bolivian officials have not revealed when the video was filmed or who filmed it. They have only said they were given it by an unnamed witness.

It is the only piece of 'evidence' Bolivian authorities have produced to date to back up claims Mr Dwyer was involved in a murder plot against President Morales. A family spokesman received a copy of the video yesterday but did not wish to comment on it. An investigation is continuing in Bolivia into Mr Dwyer's killing. Bolivian authorities claimed he and the two other men killed by a SWAT-style police unit died in a shoot-out.

However, pictures later emerged of the men lying dead in their underwear, leading to fears they were killed in their beds. Claims there had been a shoot-out were also contradicted by witnesses.

The Bolivian government has rejected calls for an international investigation.

Local journalists said the footage was shown in a hastily arranged press conference last Saturday, with little time for reporters to question it before the follwing day's papers went to press.

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