Thursday 14 November 2019

Family of bodyguard Michael Dwyer to press UN chiefs over investigation into killing

Ed Carty

THE family of an Irish bodyguard shot dead by Bolivian security forces over an alleged presidential assassination plot will press United Nations chiefs for an investigation into his killing.

Michael Dwyer's relatives will meet UN officials in Geneva attached to Christof Heyns, Special Rapporteur on ex-Judicial Killings, tomorrow to call for an inquiry into the April 16 2009 death.

Police in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, said Mr Dwyer was one of three men they killed in a hotel shoot-out after they uncovered a right-wing plot against president Evo Morales.

The Dwyer family said they were gravely concerned that the men who were arrested on the night of their son's killing had been held for three years without trial.

"This time-lag adds to the urgent need for an international investigation," a spokeswoman said.

During the meeting with Mr Heyns, the family will present the findings of an autopsy conducted by state pathologist Dr Marie Cassidy, as well as an independent report by UK forensics expert, Keith Borer, which both indicate that Michael was shot in the heart.

They will also insist that there was no evidence that he had been involved in a shoot-out, as claimed by the Bolivian authorities.

The Dwyers first made a submission to Mr Heyns in September 2010 and called on him to initiate an investigation into the killing. They claim he was shot while asleep.

The 24-year-old, from Ballinderry in Co Tipperary, had gone to Bolivia to train in the security business and took up work in personal security while there. He had been a recent graduate from NUI Galway and had also worked as a guard on the Shell Corrib gas refinery in Mayo.

The family have accused the Bolivian government of concocting the terrorism allegation and stonewalling them at every turn and they have also lobbied EU officials for support for the international inquiry.

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