A California man who is wanted by the FBI has been granted asylum in Belarus (Picture: Belarus 1 TV/AP)
A California man on the FBI’s wanted list for allegedly assaulting police officers during the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol has been granted asylum in Belarus, officials said Wednesday.
Evan Neumann, a 49-year-old from the San Francisco Bay Area, was charged a year ago with assaulting police, including using a metal barricade as a battering ram during the January 6 riot.
Following the attack, Neumann fled to Europe where he first rented an apartment in Ukraine for four months. He then crossed through the Ukrainian swamps of Pripyat, located near Chernobyl, into Belarus late last year.
To be granted asylum, Neumann told Interior Ministry officials in Belarus that he faced ‘political persecution’ in the US, according to state-owned television network BeITA.
In a video shared by the network on Tuesday, Neumann is pictured signing a migration document and shaking hands with a police officer. English subtitles with the video say: ‘Now you are completely under the protection of the Republic of Belarus,’ The Washington Post reported.
‘Today I have mixed feelings,’ Neumann said in the television report. ‘I am glad Belarus took care of me. I am upset to find myself in a situation where I have problems in my own country.’
The Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, and Russian president, Vladimir Putin, have claimed the January 6 attack on the US Captiol is evidence of a double standard by the US, which will condemn crackdowns on anti-government demonstrations elsewhere.
Belarus shares a border with Ukraine, but is an ally of Russia. It does not have an extradition agreement with the US.
Neumann fled the US in February of last year. A month later, he was charged in DC for participating in a number of violent acts against law enforcement officers. The charges all stem from footage obtained from police body cameras of the riots. A warrant for his arrest was issued in December.
The FBI alleges Neumann hit police officers with his hands and fists, as well as a metal barricade, which he used as a battering ram.
The deadly insurrection caused by supporters of former president Donald Trump left at least 140 DC police officers injured. Over 225 people have been charged with assaulting, resisting or impeding officers or government employees in the riot.
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