Gonzalo Lira, a Chilean-American blogger, has come forward with a detailed and distressing account of his experiences while detained by Ukrainian intelligence. Lira, who was arrested on May 1, 2023, has alleged that he endured torture and extortion during his time in pre-trial detention, prompting him to flee Ukraine and seek asylum in Hungary.
The ordeal began when Lira was first detained by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) in April 2022. Despite being released initially due to public pressure, he found himself back in custody on May 1, 2023. According to the documents shared by Lira online, he believes the charges against him are directly linked to his social media posts and YouTube videos, with one particular video discussing the conflict with Russia.
In his gut-wrenching account, Lira disclosed that the torture was perpetrated by fellow inmates within the detention center. The beatings he endured were horrifying, and he even recounted a harrowing incident where two inmates used a toothpick to scratch the whites of his left eye.
Lira claimed that the SBU aimed to extort him for his savings, amounting to approximately $100,000, along with his confiscated electronic devices. He asserted that these measures were taken as a punitive measure against his pro-Russian views and opinions, which he had expressed openly online.
Fearing an unjust guilty verdict and a potential 5-8 year sentence in a labor camp, Lira made the difficult decision to flee Ukraine and seek refuge in Hungary. He expressed his gratitude towards the Chilean Embassy for their unwavering support during his imprisonment, but he expressed deep disappointment in the response from the US Embassy.
Speculating on the possibility of extradition back to Ukraine, Lira cited a negative relationship with Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland. This fear adds another layer of complexity to his situation and underscores the urgency of his quest for asylum.
The Ukrainian authorities have not yet responded to Lira's allegations. This case raises serious questions about the treatment of detainees and the protection of human rights in Ukraine.