As lawmakers on Capitol Hill in Washington DC debate sending billions more in military aid to Ukraine, a US citizen journalist, Gonzalo Lira, is languishing in a Ukrainian prison on allegations of spreading Russian propaganda, calling into question question the status of free speech in the Biden administration’s alleged democracy deserves more taxpayer money.
The Biden administration is asking Congress to approve an additional $24 billion for Ukraine by the end of this year, which would add to the $113 billion Congress has committed to the country since the start of his war with Russia in February last year.
President Biden told the United Nations on Tuesday that investing in Ukraine was an investment in “the future of every country that aspires to a world governed by fundamental rules.”
However, the administration has been much less vocal about the possibility that Ukraine is violating the rights of an American journalist currently detained in Ukraine for his reporting; and in a speech to the UN devoted almost entirely to Ukraine, the status of Gonzalo Lira was not mentioned once by Biden.
Lira, a dual U.S. and Chilean citizen who lived in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv at the time of the Russian invasion, could face between five and eight years in prison under Ukraine’s war propaganda laws.
The US citizen journalist was initially arrested in May this year on suspicion of producing pro-Russian propaganda on his YouTube channel, where he questioned narratives about the war presented in mainstream and Russian media. Zelensky government, suggesting in particular that Moscow had been provoked. to the invasion of the Ukrainian government and the eastern expansion of the US-led NATO military alliance.
In July this year, Lira posted messages on Twitter and YouTube claiming he was going to attempt to cross the Ukrainian border into Hungary to seek asylum after being released on bail. Since then, he has not posted on either platform.
In his latest video message, Lira claimed that if he did not post after his attempt to cross the border, it would mean he had been arrested again by Ukrainian authorities. Lira said that in such a case he would “die in prison” and implored the public to “make noise” about his arrest. The former red pill-style dating coach turned citizen journalist maintained that he had simply discussed publicly available information about the war.
“The US State Department knows exactly who I am and what fate awaits me,” he said before attempting to cross the border.
According to a copy of apparent chargesthe Ukrainian government alleged that Lira “had a criminal intent aimed at manufacturing and distributing materials containing justification, recognition as legitimate, denial of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, which began in 2014, as well as a justification, a recognition as legitimate. legitimate reason for the temporary occupation of part of Ukrainian territory.
The indictment released by Lira contains no mention of his work for the Russian government in any capacity, and does not allege any other criminal acts other than statements he made on social media .
“The accusations against me are solely due to my opinion on this conflict, I have not harmed anyone,” Lira said.
The citizen journalist also said he suffered violent abuse from other prisoners during his first incarceration, claiming, unverifiably, that prison guards “outsource» torture towards other detainees. Lira said he believed the Chilean embassy had done more to protect his well-being than the U.S. State Department. He added that he believes the U.S. government has no interest in his case because: “I’m not a black lesbian drug addict, nor a transgender crook. Plus, Victoria Nuland hates me to the core, or so I’m told.
A State Department spokesperson told Breitbart News in a statement Tuesday: “We are aware of Mr. Lira’s detention in Ukraine. We take our role in assisting U.S. citizens abroad seriously and provide 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 active armed conflict. »
Ukrainian trans ‘spokesperson’ attacks Sen. JD Vance for spreading ‘gender chaos’ and refuses to deny ties to US governmenthttps://t.co/eLUui3iwkl
– Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 18, 2023
Lira’s case came to light after Ukrainian military spokeswoman Sarah Ashton-Cirillo appeared to be claims last week for testifying against Lira while claiming to have met him personally. Ashton-Cirillo said he was in good physical and mental health when they met.
The transgender spokesperson was criticized by US Senator JD Vance after he said on social media that Russian propagandists would be “hunted down” by the Ukrainian government.
Senator Vance, Breitbart News reported, wrote to the Biden administration, questioning whether the White House was aware of plans by the Zelensky government to carry out violent attacks against people exercising their right to free speech. Ashton-Cirillo, meanwhile, said Ukraine respects freedom of expression, but sounded a note of caution, saying those who spread so-called Russian propaganda cannot claim to be journalists and will therefore be liable. of imprisonment.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration repatriated five Americans detained in Iran in exchange for the release of $6 billion to the Islamic nation, as well as five Iranians accused in the United States.
The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), Europe’s largest journalists’ association, has expressed concern over a new Ukrainian law that could arbitrarily censor the country’s media. https://t.co/ZBVFEa1dJP
– Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) January 9, 2023
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