The head of the State Department Mike Pompeo called on Alexander Lukashenko to immediately release the illegally detained US citizen Vitaly Shklyarov.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday, October 24, phoned Alexander Lukashenko, who is in power in Belarus, the press service of the US State Department confirmed in response to DW’s request.
One of the topics of conversation between politicians was the fate of Vitaly Shklyarov, a political strategist with Belarusian roots, who has American citizenship. “The Secretary of State has called for the complete release and permission of the immediate departure from Belarus of the illegally detained US citizen Vitaly Shklyarov,” the State Department said.
In addition, Mike Pompeo “has once again declared that the United States supports the striving of the Belarusian people for democracy,” the press service added.
Detention of US political strategist Vitaly Shklyarov in Belarus
Political strategist Vitaly Shklyarov was detained in Gomel on July 29. His lawyer Anton Gashinsky said later that he was charged with organizing group actions that grossly violate public order and disobey the lawful demands of the authorities. According to the lawyer, his client considered himself innocent, and connected the detention with his publications about Belarus in various media.
Shklyarov studied and lived in Germany, where he tried himself as a manager and political consultant, then moved to the United States and participated in several election campaigns of Democratic politicians, including Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders.
The Gomel native also worked in Russia, among other things, with Ksenia Sobchak in the 2018 presidential elections, and in Georgia. He is married to an employee of the US State Department and, according to people from his entourage, was preparing to move to Ukraine – to a new job for his wife.
On October 19, Shklyarov was released from the KGB pre-trial detention center of Belarus in Minsk, and a day later the measure of restraint was changed from house arrest to recognizance not to leave.