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 PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUS to temporarily withdraw some embassy personnel in Baghdad: report Pompeo to host indoor holiday parties at State Department despite warning to employees to hold some missions virtually The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Pressure builds as UK approves COVID-19 vaccine 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 SandersFormer Sanders press secretary: 'Principal concern' of Biden appointments should be policy DeVos knocks free college push as 'socialist takeover of higher education' The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Giuliani denies discussing preemptive pardon with Trump MORE (I-Vt.) and former President Obama.