The family of Michael O'Dwyer, the Irishman shot dead by police in Bolivia in April, are calling for an International investigation into the death of their loved one.

An inquest into the death of Irishman Michael Dwyer, who was shot dead by Bolivian police in Santa Cruz in April, concluded that he died from one single gunshot wound to the heart, and not six gunshot wounds, as previously stated by Bolivian authorities.

Ireland’s State Pathologist, Dr. Marie Cassidy, told the inquest in Dublin this week that the Co. Tipperary man died from a single gunshot wound to the heart.

Cassidy said pathologists in Bolivia might have confused cuts to Dwyer’s body as bullet entry and exit wounds. She added that the fatal shot had been fired by somebody standing over Dwyer; most likely as he was sitting up in bed.

Bolivian police shot Dwyer, along with two other men, in what they claim was an anti-terrorist sting operation in a hotel in Santa Cruz on April 16.

Bolivian authorities claim the men were involved in a plot to kill the Bolivian president, Evo Moales.

Authorities said the three men died in a “crossfire” after resisting arrest. Cassidy said she could not confirm evidence from police in Bolivia that Dwyer fired a weapon in the attack.

51 bullets were discovered in the hotel room after the incident. It was not clear which guns the 51 bullets had been fired from.

“As a family, we would like to know exactly what happened on that fatal night in Bolivia, when Michael was so cruelly taken from us,” Dwyer's family said after the inquest declared an “open verdict.”

“We want the truth. Only a well-resourced investigation, meeting internationally recognized standards, into the circumstances of Michael's violent death can help us find the truth, and we urge the Foreign Affairs Minister Michael Martin to mobilize such an investigation.

“This is not only important for us as a family, but for human rights on a global scale.”

Dwyer, who worked for an Irish security firm in Co. Mayo until last October, traveled to Bolivia with two work colleagues (a Hungarian and a Slovenian) for a bodyguard course.

The course never took place.

Dwyer’s two friends returned to Ireland but Dwyer stayed on, telling his parents he had found work in the security business. 

Evidence was given at Dwyer’s inquest that his flight was paid for by a businessman, Alejandro Melgar, a man with links to a separatist group in Bolivia.

According to the Bolivian Ambassador to the U.K, Beatriz Souviron, the separatist group had been associated with a number of planned attacks in Santa Cruz.

Dwyer’s family and friends have dismissed the claims, saying the Irishman had no interest in politics.

 

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