Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH) accused what he called America’s “welfare client” Ukraine of “executing” an American citizen.
According to recent reports, Gonzalo Lira, a Chilean-American journalist and blogger, died while in custody in a Ukrainian prison.
Lira was arrested in Ukraine in May of 2023 for allegedly spreading pro-Russian propaganda during the ongoing conflict.
He was charged under Article 436-2 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code, which deals with wartime propaganda. Lira was released on bail but was later re-arrested in 2023 while attempting to flee the country.
Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson posted on X that Lira’s father had informed him that his son had died while in prison.
“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 (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky and Biden governments,” Carlson wrote. “Gonzalo Lira was an American citizen, but the Biden administration clearly supported his imprisonment and torture.”
Vance Accuses Ukraine Of Executing Lira
Carlson, Vance, and X CEO Elon Musk had been calling on the United States government to do something about the imprisonment of Gonzalo Lira in Ukraine.
The State Department previously issued a statement saying they “are aware of the detention of Mr. Lira in Ukraine” and “providing all appropriate assistance.”
Critics wonder why that “assistance” didn’t include a direct flight home.
Lira’s father argued that the “conspicuous lack of response” from the Joe Biden administration, however, demonstrated a level of complicity on their part to allow Ukraine to continue to detain an American citizen.
“An American citizen is in prison (in) Ukraine after we sent over a $100 billion?” Musk asked previously. “Is there more to this story than simply criticizing Zelensky?”
Vance took to X to share his thoughts that while some pro-war lefties would celebrate the death of Lira due to his sketchy past, an American should never die in the prison of a country that contends to be an ally while happily taking taxpayer dollars.
“I’m sure the sociopaths will argue, in effect, that Lira deserved it,” he wrote. “But count me as one of those who thinks our welfare clients shouldn’t execute our citizens.”
Why Didn’t The U.S. Demand His Return?
Senator Vance has previously blasted the imprisonment of Gonzalo Lira as a “disgrace” and openly wondered, “Why is the Biden admin opening up the checkbook without any accountability?”
The fact that the White House seemingly sat idly by while Lira languished in prison for pro-Russia propaganda should be a signal of how they’d feel if their political opponents expressed opinions contrary to their views.
Some would say that’s what the January 6th prisons are for.
Lira’s father claims that his son was tortured in prison for criticizing Zelensky.
X’s fact-checking feature Community Notes, however, disputes that assertion, saying that he “has not been tortured, neither is he in prison for the crime of criticizing Zelensky.”
“Lira is in prison because he was arrested for multiple offenses, including sharing the location of Ukrainian troops with Russia,” they stated.
Some critics have countered that those troops were already exposed through public outlets.
Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, an American “transgender war correspondent” serving as spokesperson for Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces, told Business Insider last month that Lira was in “good health” and denied that he had been tortured.
“In an effort to gain sympathy, Gonzalo Lira made up allegations of abuse and torture,” Ashton-Cirillo said. “As someone who spoke to him shortly after he was returned to custody, it was clear that he was in good health and treated extremely fairly by the state security services.”
Just weeks later, Lira is dead.
The United States Department of State did confirm Lira’s death, but further details on the circumstances on what happened are not yet available.
“We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss,” a spokesperson for the department said. “We stand ready to provide all appropriate consular assistance. Out of respect to the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment.”
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