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'He was in bed wearing nothing but his underwear, there is no doubt he was summarily executed'

Michael Dwyer’s family continue to seek justice for their son.

Caroline Dwyer arriving at Leinster House today.
Caroline Dwyer arriving at Leinster House today.
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire

THE MOTHER OF an Irishman who was shot dead in Bolivia in 2009 says that his name was “sullied” by Irish and international media after his death.

Caroline Dwyer was speaking before an Oireachtas committee as part of her family’s fight for an independent international investigation into the killing of her son Michael.

The Tipperary native was shot – along with two other men – at the Las Americas Hotel in Santa Cruz during a raid by police.

“Michael was a loving son, a caring brother and a great friend. He loved life, he was full of fun and he loved to socialise. Our home has been quiet for eight years,” Caroline Dwyer said.

Bolivian police claim Dwyer and the other men were involved in a paramilitary plot and were killed in a shootout.

But this story has been disputed by his family and others.

A subsequent post-mortem by the former Irish State pathologist, Marie Cassidy, found that Dwyer was fatally shot before being shot a four more times.

“Her analysis concluded that Michael could not have been engaged in a shootout,” Dwyer told the committee today.

The bullet went straight through his heart and damaged his lung and when he lay dead or dying he was shot four more times in the back. He was in bed wearing nothing but his underwear, there is no doubt he was summarily executed.

Caroline Dwyer points out that the Irish government and the European Union have both accepted Cassidy’s findings.

The Dwyers have travelled to Bolivia numerous times as part of their fight for justice but their efforts have been repeatedly hampered by uncooperative authorities.

It’s for that reason that Caroline has repeated the family’s call for “an independent international transparent investigation into the killing of Michael.”

dwyer Michael Dwyer was killed in 2009.

At the time of Michael Dwyer’s killing, the Bolivian government alleged that he was part of a paramilitary group that was plotting to kill President Evo Morales.

Caroline Dwyer today said that her son had no interest in such affairs.

“I know my son, he had no ulterior moves, we are not a political family and Michael was not political. He would have no interest or knowledge of Bolivian politics,” she said.

“My family’s objective has been to establish the truth. Large elements of the media in Ireland and internationally sullied his name. The information in photographs released by the Bolivian authorities were not questioned,” she added later.

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Man shot in Bolivia Michael, pictured with his grandmother Denise Shaw. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

Alan Kelly TD, a local representative of the family, told the committee that it is the responsibility of the Irish State to help the family.

“Obviously there is no closure for the Dwyer family but we need to help them get closure to what every percentage we can,” he said.

“Michael Dwyer was executed, he was murdered. By a foreign government. I’ve seen the evidence. He was picked out and he was murdered.”

Kelly added that the case “stinks from the very top” and argued that an independent investigation is needed.

“Nearly eight years ago, a citizen of Ireland was taken out by the Bolivian government, and we’re going to have to do something about this and support them,” the deputy said.

Read: Family of Irishman shot dead by police travel to Bolivia to seek justice >

Read: Michael Dwyer’s mother searches for answers into her son’s death in new film >

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Rónán Duffy

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