If the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) takes on the 2009 Hotel de Las Americas case, it will be aligning itself with terrorists and separatists, Bolivian President Evo Morales warned Wednesday.
"If the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights admits the Las Americas hotel case, then the IACHR is a defender of terrorism and separatism that wanted to divide the country," Morales posted on Twitter.
The comment came after the IACHR submitted a complaint against the Bolivian state on behalf of convicted terrorist Mario Tadic Astorga, who was prosecuted April 16, 2009 following a police raid at the Las Americas Hotel in Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
Defense attorneys Gianni Prado Herrera and Carolina Dwyer issued a 'right to petition' in September 2009, citing human rights violations on the part of the police and during the criminal process as well as irregularities in the case.
The request, which was approved on February 24, 2018, was announced Tuesday and presents an opportunity for Morales to be investigated for his role in the police raid and the triple homicide for crimes against humanity.
Almost nine years ago, officers with the Delta Group – an elite Bolivian police force – stormed the Hotel de las Americas in the early hours to surprise the alleged terror group.
Agents shot and killed three of the suspected terrorists: Irishman Michael Dwyer, 24; Romanian Arpad Magyarosi, 39; and Bolivian Rozsa Flores, 49.
Tadic Astorga and his companions Elod Toaso, Alcides Mendoza and Juan Guedes were arrested and charged with terrorism.
Official reports claim the team were members of an extreme fascist group involved in an assassination plot against the president. A search of the premises uncovered a small cache of explosives and firearms.
The IACHR states that some elements show the raid was part of an extrajudicial execution and there were signs of undue detention, judicial kidnapping, and the use of torture to obtain testimony and confessions – all of which constitute a violation of human rights.
If the allegations can be supported, the Commission may lead to an investigation and case against the current Bolivian leader for crimes against humanity, El Diario reports.
Government Minister Carlos Romero denounced the human rights violation allegations. He said the IACHR would have a hard case against the president, who acted completely in defense of the country's unity and did what was necessary in the face of "dangerous separatists."
"It is a case of Bolivian justice, which is the one that acts first in defense of the Bolivian interest," Romero said, calling the episode a "black passage" in Bolivia's history.
"If we have to defend the Bolivian State and the unity of the country, we will do it and we will face it before the sea. If we have to refresh the collective memory to resort to the conclusive instruments proving the existence of those facts, we will do it again before the sea."