Gonzalo Lira, critic of Zelensky, ‘tortured to death’ in Ukraine prison

Gonzalo Lira.

Saturday, January 13, 2024 11:31 AM
[ Last Update: Saturday, 13 January 2024 12:00 PM ]

Gonzalo Lira, a Chilean-American blogger and a critic of US and Ukraine presidents Joe Biden and Volodymyr Zelensky, has died in a Ukrainian prison after he was “tortured” and denied medical treatment.

“We can confirm the death of a US citizen in Ukraine. We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss,” a representative of the US State Department told TASS news agency.

“We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance. Out of respect to the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment,” the official added.

Lira was detained in May 2023 by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on charges of being pro-Russian, and before he was “tortured to death”, it was known to the US State Department that he had been incarcerated in a Ukrainian prison.

His trial was set for December 21, 2023, but was reportedly postponed following a severe lung infection.

His father, Gonzalo Lira, Sr., slammed both Zelensky and Biden for murdering his son.

“I cannot accept the way my son has died. He was tortured, extorted, and incommunicado for 8 months and 11 days and the US Embassy did nothing to help my son. The responsibility of this tragedy is the dictator Zelensky with the concurrence of a senile American President, Joe Biden.”

According to a letter he wrote to his sister, posted by journalist Alex Rubinstein, Lira described the severity of his illness and how it was ignored by the authorities.

“I have had double pneumonia (both lungs) as well as pneumothorax and a very severe case of edema (swelling of the body). All this started in mid-October, but was ignored by the prison,” he wrote in the letter.

“They only admitted I had pneumonia at a Dec. 22 hearing. I am about to have a procedure to reduce the edema pressure in my lungs, which is causing me extreme shortness of breath, to the point of passing out after minimal activity, or even just talking for 2 minutes,” he added.

A picture of the letter Gonzalo Lira wrote.

Apart from being a journalist, he was also a writer and filmmaker with experience working in Hollywood.

He reportedly had moved to Ukraine in 2010 and married a local woman, and started living in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city not far from the Russian border.

In recent weeks, Tucker Carlson, a US journalist, and American entrepreneur Elon Musk had been lobbying for Lira’s release, after Washington maintained silence over him.

Carlson, citing Lira’s father, said the US administration “clearly supported his imprisonment and torture.”

“Gonzalo Lira, Sr. says his son has died at 55 in a Ukrainian prison, where he was being held for the crime of criticizing the Zelensky and Biden governments. Gonzalo Lira was an American citizen, but the Biden administration clearly supported his imprisonment and torture. Several weeks ago we spoke to his father, who predicted his son would be killed,” Carlson wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Earlier, Musk had appealed to Zelensky with a request to explain the arrest and detention of Lira, and had demanded answers on the status of Lira from Biden.

Musk also questioned how it was possible that a US citizen is in prison in Ukraine after Washington had “sent over a $100 billion” to support Kiev in the conflict with Moscow.

It would be a “serious problem” if it turned out that the journalist was being persecuted for “simply criticizing Zelensky,” Musk added in December.

Previously, Lira was arrested in 2022 when his disappearance made international headlines, but last year’s arrest, according to his father, came days “after condemning Joe Biden and Kamala Harris,” when he was trying to escape Ukraine.

“Why was he not detained earlier?” Lira Sr. asked. “When he was let go the previous year, he continued the same criticism against the war.”

* This article was automatically syndicated and expanded from PressTV.

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