American YouTuber and columnist Gonzalo Lira was arrested in Ukraine at the start of May because he “publicly justified” the Russian invasion, according to a press release by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU). The statement says that Lira “has the citizenship of one of the countries of Latin America” but omits that he is also California-born U.S. citizen.
In a shocking Tweet thread posted Monday night, Lira described his experience being tortured in a Ukrainian prison, saying "two thugs held my head and used a toothpick to scratch the whites of my left eye, while asking me if I could still read if I had just one." Lira informed followers that he was making a mad-dash via motorcycle towards the Hungarian border:
Right now, I'm about to try to get out of Ukraine, and seek political asylum in Hungary.— Gonzalo Lira (@GonzaloLira1968) July 31, 2023
Either I'll cross the border and make it to safety, or I'll be disappeared by the Kiev regime.
This is what's happened to me over the past three months.
Grayzone reporter Liam Cosgrove pressed State Department spox Matthew Miller on the issue, asking how the Biden Administration has allowed an American to be tortued by a closely allied nation:
The Grayzone’s @cosgrove_iv asked @StateDeptSpox today about the status of Gonzalo Lira, the US citizen who was jailed by the Ukrainian govt for challenging its official narrative of the war and whose Twitter account now claims he’s making a break for the Hungarian border pic.twitter.com/kc7NY6hkdt— The Grayzone (@TheGrayzoneNews) August 1, 2023
Even more damning about Miller's non-answer is that 3 months prior, Miller admitted that the State Department was aware of Lira's imprisonment and plead the Fifth when asked whether the administration planned to advocate for his release:
State Department refuses to say whether it will negotiate with Zelensky for the release of detained U.S. citizen Gonzalo Lira: pic.twitter.com/jTD58XjYnw— Liam Cosgrove (@cosgrove_iv) May 28, 2023