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12 Jan, 2024 17:54

State Dept confirms death of US journalist jailed by Ukraine – TASS

Gonzalo Lira’s relatives have blamed his death on Washington and Kiev
State Dept confirms death of US journalist jailed by Ukraine – TASS

Chilean-American blogger Gonzalo Lira has died in a Ukrainian prison, Russian news agency TASS said on Saturday, citing a response it received from the US Department of State. The blogger’s death was first announced by his family on Friday. 

Lira, 55 at the time of his death, lived in Kharkov and blogged as ‘CoachRedPill,’ but switched to YouTube commentary after Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in February 2022. He was arrested by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) last May and accused of “discrediting” the Ukrainian leadership and the military.

“I cannot accept the way my son has died. He was tortured, extorted, 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,” his father Gonzalo Lira Sr. wrote in a note published by The Grayzone.

Lira Sr. also reached out to X host Tucker Carlson, confirming the death of his son in Ukrainian custody. He had spoken to Carlson about the case in early December.

Lira resurfaced from custody in late July with a series of posts on X (formerly Twitter), revealing his torture in jail and attempts by the SBU to extort him for money. He said he was trying to flee to Hungary and seek asylum. “Either I'll cross the border and make it to safety, or I'll be disappeared by the Kiev regime,” he wrote, in his last public message.

Two days later, a source confirmed to RT that Lira had been caught and imprisoned by Ukrainian authorities. 

According to a handwritten note Lira’s sister received on January 4, provided to the Grayzone by her father, Gonzalo Lira Jr. had severe health problems caused by pneumonia and a collapsed lung, which began in mid-October. Ukrainian prison authorities only acknowledged the issue on December 22, and stated he would undergo surgery. 

Following his father's appearance on Carlson’s show, X owner Elon Musk personally inquired about Lira's case with both US President Joe Biden and Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky, apparently to no effect.

Lira was a national of both the US and Chile. According to his thread from last July, the Chilean Embassy in Kiev at least tried to help him, while the US mission gave him only “empty bromides.” Lira suggested that this was because Victoria Nuland – currently the acting deputy to Secretary of State Antony Blinken – hated him personally.

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