'I will never give up fight to prove my son was brutally executed by Bolivian police,' says mum of Michael Dwyer
THE mother of Michael Dwyer, who was shot dead in a police raid in Bolivia almost seven years ago, has vowed to never give up her fight for justice.
Caroline Dwyer said her family was planning to return to Bolivia next year on a fact-finding mission, and added that she is now hopeful of discovering how and why her son was killed.
The family met Bolivian authorities in Dublin at the weekend during president Evo Morales' visit and have agreed to the setting up of an inter- national independent investigation into the incident, which Ms Dwyer describes as "a brutal execution".
However, that cannot begin until a long-running internal judicial inquiry into how the Bolivian authorities handled the case concludes.
Ms Dwyer said that may take another 12 months, and in the meantime the Dwyer family want to go to Bolivia and interview police officers involved in the raid as well as the officials who ordered it.
She maintains that many of these people have never been asked to give any evidence.
"Nearly seven years have passed and people's memories fade. There are people who have never been interviewed who need to be," she said.
"We will meet officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs in coming weeks and put a structure around how we will progress the establishing of the facts with the family.
"We would like to see something real and tangible happening before the seventh anniversary of Michael's death, which is in April."
The family have been steadfast in their efforts to find out exactly what happened in a Santa Cruz hotel on April 16, 2009 when Michael Dwyer and two others were killed.
Bolivian authorities originally said the Tipperary man, who was 24 at the time, was killed in a shoot-out. They said he was part of a terrorist group plotting to kill the president, Evo Morales.
However, the claims have been rejected by a host of witnesses and officials, including hotel guests and - most recently - by Marcelo Soza, the former prosecutor in the case.
"I found no evidence that Michael Dwyer had any criminal link to this case," he said.
Mr Soza worked on the case for four years before he was taken off it after raising concerns about how it was proceeding.
The judicial inquiry was subsequently set up, but Ms Dwyer said she does not expect that it will be completed for at least another year, despite several promises that it would be finished much sooner.
Although she was disappointed that she did not meet Mr Morales during his time here, she said the discussions with his officials were "positive" and they have agreed to support the family's plans to obtain evidence from those involved.
This will be added to the mater- ial the Dwyers have already obtained, including ballistic and forensic evidence, photos and videos as well as a post-mortem performed by the authorities here.
Ms Dwyer said all this will be used to prove her son was executed and was in the "wrong place at the wrong time".
"Each year there's some development and it means you don't lose hope and it gives you the willpower to keep going and to keep up the fight," she said.
"It doesn't get any easier, but the passage of time hasn't made me any less determined to establish the facts.
"That is what the family has been fighting for, and what we want for Michael.
"He has a younger brother and three sisters and it's important that we finally get justice," she added.