The mother of Michael Dwyer, the Irishman who was murdered in Bolivia four years ago, has submitted a written petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Washington asking that his shooting be investigated.
Dwyer, 24, was shot five times by a Bolivian police special forces unit in April 2009, in his hotel room in Santa Cruz He and two others, all of whom were suspected of being mercenaries sent to assassinate Bolivian president Evo Morales, were killed in a pre-dawn raid on a Santa Cruz hotel in what Bolivian authorities said was a pre-emptive strike.
Caroline Dwyer claims that the police chief who led the operation had planted a bomb at the home of Cardinal Julio Terrazas, Bolivia's most senior Catholic churchman, as a ruse to justify the raid. The cardinal was not at home when the bomb exploded and no one was injured.
According to the petition to IACHR in Washington, Caroline Dwyer claimes the scene in the hotel was "staged" after the men died.
Dwyer claims her son’s death violated Article 4 of the American human rights code and says that Irish authorities have still not received an official report about the police operation from the Bolivian government.
Her submission includes a report by Marie Cassidy, Ireland’s state pathologist, which she says concluded “the first shot to [Michael’s] chest was sufficient to incapacitate him immediately and cause his rapid death."
The petition also contains a report by Keith Borer Forensic Consultants in the UK, commissioned by the Dwyer family, that concludes that “the state of undress of Michael Dwyer and the manner in which the bedclothes are pulled back would seem to indicate [he] had been in bed just prior to the shooting."
The IACHR has the power to recommend a state investigation of a suspected human rights breach, punishment of those culpable, reparation for damages, and referral to the Inter-American Court for trial by its seven judges.
Bolivian Escapade, a film about the shooting made by Richie O’Donnell, is being broadcasted this weekend on Al Jazeera television.