A Bolivian court has heard claims that Ballinderry man Michael Dwyer, who was shot dead in the South American country four years ago, survived a hotel raid by armed soldiers and was later killed at Santa Cruz International Airport.
Following the claims by Hungarian Elod Toaso, who was with Mr Dwyer at the time that, despite having his head covered he recognised Mr Dwyer, Junior Minister Alan Kelly said he has always supported the Dwyer family in looking for an international inquiry.
“I absolutely believe that the version of events that have been put forward by the Bolivian authorities simply don’t stand up. This raises even more questions,” he said.
Calls for an inquiry were backed by Cllr Seamus Morris who said: “I support the family’s calls for a full independent inquiry. I hope the Irish Government and the EU are pressing the case. I believe Michael Dwyer was executed and his family deserves closure.”
Cllr Morris said there was a feeling in “this new world that governments can summarily execute people without trial, led by the US drone attacks, and the murderous attacks on civilians in Pakistan and Egypt. The EU needs to get backbone and stand up for civilian rights.”
Mr Dwyer’s family have lodged a report to the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Summary or Arbitary Executions in its attempt to have an international inquiry into the events.
Mr Dwyer, 24, and two other men were killed in the hotel raid in Santa Cruz on April 16, 2009. The Bolivian government claimed they were part of plot to kill President Evo Morales.
Mr Toaso told his trial last week: “I saw Michael Dwyer alive. He was to my right and Mario Tadic was to my left, also hooded. I heard shots. I heard his voice. That is how I recognised him.”
Mr Tadic said: “I always said that before boarding the plane I heard a person pleading for help in English. The only one who spoke that language was Michael Dwyer, so there are no doubts.”
Bolivian authorities dismissed Mr Toaso’s claims as “the tricks of an accused”.