The father of American citizen journalist Gonzalo Lira has accused the Biden administration of “complicity” in his son’s imprisonment in Ukraine and refuted claims made by the State Department to Breitbart News that they were “assisting” Mr Lira.
In an interview with American journalist Tucker Carlson on X, Gonzalo Lira Sr laid the blame on President Biden and the U.S. State Department for his son languishing in a Ukrainian prison after criticising the Zelensky government in Kyiv, the West’s response to the Russian invasion, and President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
His son, Gonzalo Lira, 56, a dual citizen of Chile and the United States, was living in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv at the time of the invasion last year. The former ‘red pill’ YouTube dating coach began to post videos online giving his on-the-ground perspective of the war, which he attributed to Western antagonism towards Moscow and attempts to expand NATO into Ukraine.
Apparently, as a result of his public opinions as a citizen journalist, Lira has been arrested multiple times, and his father claims that he has in total spent seven months behind bars without trial. After being released earlier this year, Lira attempted in July to cross the border of Ukraine and seek asylum in Hungary.
However, he was detained and imprisoned yet again. He is reportedly facing multiple years in prison under Ukraine’s wartime propaganda laws, being accused of having “criminal intent aimed at the manufacture, distribution materials containing justification, recognition as legitimate, denial of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, which began in 2014, as well as justification, recognition as legitimate of the temporary occupation of part of Ukraine territory.”
He is also reportedly accused of publishing videos with the faces of Ukrainian soldiers, despite many such videos being freely available online and published by news outlets. There has been no claim that Lira was an agent of the Russian government or that he engaged in any criminal activities other than his public comments or the videos he filmed. “The charges against me are just because of my opinion about this conflict, I did no harm to anyone,” Lira claimed before his latest imprisonment.
In September, the U.S. State Department confirmed to Breitbart News that it was aware of Lira being imprisoned in Ukraine, saying: “We are aware of the detention of Mr. Lira in Ukraine. We take our role in assisting U.S. citizens abroad seriously and are providing all appropriate assistance.
“We are monitoring the situation but have no further comment at this time. We reiterate our message that U.S. citizens should not travel to Ukraine due to the active armed conflict.”
However, his father told Tucker Carlson on Saturday that the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv has “not done a thing” to help Lira, claiming that they have refused to answer his inquiries about his son and have not offered a defence lawyer, leaving Lira with only a “court attorney” provided by the Ukrainian government who does not even speak English.
Ep. 47 Gonzalo Lira is an American citizen who’s been tortured in a Ukrainian prison since July, for the crime of criticizing Zelensky. Biden officials approve of this, because they’d like to apply the same standard here. The media agree. Here’s a statement from Gonzalo Lira’s… pic.twitter.com/4H2otHhYHi
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) December 9, 2023
“The embassy has just burned out Gonzalo. An American citizen by birth is in jail because he was exercising his right of freedom of speech,” Lira’s father said.
“The U.S.A. government, with its silence in the face of this scandalous incident, suggests a degree of complicity, or at least tacit approval of Gonzalo’s arrest since nothing else explains the conspicuous lack of response,” he continued.
Perhaps the most incendiary claim made by Lira’s father was that he believes one of the times his son was arrested in Ukraine was a result of a video in which he criticised President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, whom Lira branded as “stupid”.
“Isn’t it odd that four days later after condemning Joe Biden and Kamala Harris Gonzalo was arrested? Why wasn’t he detained earlier?”
“Did the State Department give Zelensky the green light to put my son in jail?” he questioned.
“My son is a victim of this Biden government and his relation with that puppet Zelensky,” adding: “He is a brave man, telling the truth all along, from day one he predicted what would happen, that Ukraine would never win a war with Russia and that the U.S.A. and the NATO countries would bleed with armaments, support them to kingdom come, but what is the cost now?”
Exclusive: American Citizen Journalist Sitting in Ukraine Prison, State Dept. Confirms, as Biden Begs for Billions More to Protect Ukrainian ‘Freedom’https://t.co/8Qymo4ffmX
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 19, 2023
Before his latest jailing, Lira made similar accusations against the Biden administration, claiming that the White House does not care about his case because “I’m not a black lesbian druggie, or a transgender grifter. Besides, (Under Secretary of State) Victoria Nuland hates my guts, or so I’m told.”
He has also said that the Chilean embassy has done more to look out for his wellbeing than the American embassy, while claiming to have suffered physical abuse inside Ukrainian prisons, alleging that prison guards “outsource” violence to other inmates who act on their behalf.
Following the publication of the interview with Lira’s father, X boss Elon Musk questioned how it was possible that “an American citizen is in prison in Ukraine after we sent over a $100 billion”.
“Is there more to this story than simply criticizing Zelensky? If that’s all it is, then we have [a] serious problem here,” Musk added.
Musk’s comments echoed those made by Senator J.D. Vance (R-OH) in response to Breitbart News’ report on Lira in September: “Ukraine is holding an American journalist hostage. This is a disgrace. And why is the Biden admin opening up the checkbook without any accountability?”
The Biden administration is currently trying to convince Congress to approve an additional $60 billion in funding for Ukraine. So far, President Biden has not publicly acknowledged Lira’s imprisonment.