American detained in Belarus has returned to US, Pompeo says

American detained in Belarus has returned to US, Pompeo says

An American citizen who had been detained in Belarus for three months has been released and is now back in the U.S.

Vitali Shkliarov, who has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Belarus, traveled to the Eastern European country this summer to visit friends and family and was later charged with helping organize illegal rallies. He is critical of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who is overseeing a brutal crackdown of anti-government protests fueled by contested election results. 

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoWhy is Trump undermining his administration's historic China policies? Keeping the world's focus on cyber State Department watchdog probing whether Trump aides took gifts meant for foreign officials MORE said in a statement Wednesday that Shkliarov returned to Washington, D.C., Tuesday evening.


"After three months of wrongful detention and house arrest, Mr. Shkliarov has been reunited with his family and has arrived in the United States," Pompeo said.

"As the President and I have made clear, we will not tolerate foreign governments wrongfully detaining US citizens."

A source also told CNN that Pompeo had spoken with Lukashenko Saturday to press for Shkliarov's "full release and immediate departure from Belarus."

Shkliarov is a political consultant and has worked for both Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWhite House: Window for finalizing sweeping budget package 'closing' Jayapal says tuition-free community college 'probably won't' be in spending plan Progressives see budget deal getting close after Biden meeting MORE (I-Vt.) and former President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaEmanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing Public officials are under physical and digital siege We must protect and support our health care safety net MORE.