Chilean-American reporter Gonzalo Lira, who recently resurfaced after being detained by the Ukrainian security service (SBU), has now gone missing, according to a source who spoke to RT. Lira, known for his criticism of the Ukrainian government, had expressed his intent to flee the country after allegedly suffering physical abuse and extortion while in custody. However, it appears that he did not successfully cross the border into Hungary as planned.
In a series of tweets, Lira detailed his experience of being held incommunicado in pre-trial detention since May. He claimed to have been deprived of sleep, beaten, and tortured by fellow inmates under the instructions of prison authorities. Lira also alleged that this mistreatment was motivated by a desire to silence him as he had been vocal in his criticisms of the Ukrainian government.
Despite his assertions, Lira’s attempt to escape Ukraine was foiled by Ukrainian border guards, and he has not been heard from since. Mark Sleboda, a political analyst and frequent guest on RT, confirmed Lira’s detention at the border. The circumstances surrounding Lira’s disappearance remain unclear.
Previously, Lira had claimed to have been released on bail with the condition that he stayed in the city of Kharkov. However, he mentioned that he had his passport and was not wearing an electronic shackle, which violated the terms of his release. Lira speculated that he may have been set up by the Ukrainian authorities in order to justify sending him to a labor camp and covering up their alleged extortion scheme.
Lira anticipated that if he crossed the border into Hungary, Ukraine would issue an international arrest warrant for him for skipping bail. He expressed hope that Hungary would refuse to hand him over to Ukrainian authorities, unlike other European Union nations. However, since his disappearance, there have been no updates on Lira’s social media platforms.
The journalist has faced accusations from Ukraine of “publicly justifying” the Russian military operation and spreading false stories about the war in Ukraine. Lira has vehemently denied these charges, arguing that he merely expressed his opinions about Kiev’s policies and reported on the situation in the country.
The circumstances surrounding Lira’s disappearance raise concerns about the treatment of journalists and critics of the Ukrainian government. It highlights the need for transparency and accountability in Ukraine’s law enforcement and judicial systems. The international community, along with human rights organizations, should closely monitor Lira’s case to ensure his safety and well-being.
In conclusion, the disappearance of Gonzalo Lira, a Chilean-American reporter who had intended to flee Ukraine, has raised questions about his safety and the circumstances of his detention. Lira’s allegations of physical abuse and extortion while in custody add further urgency to his situation. The international community must closely monitor the developments of his case to ensure justice and the protection of press freedom.