Plea for justice over Irishman killed in Bolivia

Eimear Ni Bhraonain

DUBLIN MEP Gay Mitchell quizzed the Bolivian vice-president when he met him face-to-face about the killing of a young Irishman.

The parents of Michael Dwyer (24), who was shot by Bolivian state police while he was sleeping in a hotel room in Santa Cruz almost three years ago, were travelling to the European Parliament today.

Martin and Caroline Dwyer are stepping up their campaign seeking an international inquiry into their son's death at the hands of the Bolivian authorities.

The heartbroken parents said they had received "no answers" from the Bolivian Government since their son's killing.


Michael Dwyer, who was working as a security guard in South America after leaving his home village of Ballinderry, Co Tipperary, was accused of being involved in an alleged plot to assassinate Bolivian President Evo Morales in the wake of his shooting.

His family is still waiting for a full probe into the circumstances of his death.

"The time lapse is now an issue of great concern to us," they said last night.

Mr Mitchell, who has just returned from Bolivia, was meeting the Dwyers in Brussels today to brief them on discussions he had with Bolivian Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera and Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca.

Mr Mitchell revealed to the Herald that he also visited Croatian Mario Tadic and Hungarian Elod Toaso in prison. The two men have been in jail since they were arrested following a raid in the Las Americas Hotel in Santa Cruz on April 16, 2009, during which another Hungarian Arpad Magyarosi, and Mr Dwyer, were killed.

Mr Mitchell said the prison officials remained present while he met the men. "If the trial goes ahead, it could be another two or three years," he said.

He later met Foreign Minister Mr Choquehuanca for talks which he described as "testy". "I told him about the need for an independent inquiry ... It was very much to the point.

"I told him if you have a 24-year-old son shot in the heart and the back, you want answers. You cannot be judge, jury and executioner."

Mr Mitchell said the Bolivian officials were "open to arguing" and "didn't take exception" to his questioning.

Vice-President Mr Garcia Linera "didn't turn down" the request for an inquiry, however, they have yet to agree.

Meanwhile, the family of Mr Dwyer said they were "keen to mobilise all available institutions and influence to bring about an international investigation into the circumstances of Michael's killing".

They added: "The European Union has important relations with Bolivia and we hope that these can be leveraged." The family also complained that "no comprehensive" police reports have been made available to them or to Irish authorities.