Evan Neumann turned up in the country late last August—and almost immediately began spewing Kremlin talking points on Belarusian state television.
A California man wanted by the FBI for his role in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot has just been granted asylum in Belarus, according to Belarusian state media.
“U.S. citizen Evan Neumann has received refugee status in Belarus. The document was handed to him today in the Department of Citizenship and Migration of the Internal Affairs Directorate of the Brest Regional Executive Committee,” read a statement shared by the BelTA news agency.
“I feel safe in Belarus. It’s calm, I like it in this country. Today I am experiencing mixed feelings. I’m glad that Belarus has taken care of me. I’m upset that I wound up in this situation, that in my native country there were such problems,” Neumann was quoted saying.
Neumann, 48, was charged on six different counts last July, including violent entry and assaulting police officers. But he was already in the wind, having reportedly sold his house and absconded first to Ukraine, and then Belarus last August.
In November, he turned up on Belarusian state TV begging for political asylum and telling a wild story about how he had navigated “swamps” and “quicksand”—as well as snakes and wild boar—to make it into the promised land that (according to him) is Belarus.
In a segment that began by claiming that Neumann had just tried to “make America great again,” the fugitive rioter said he had gone to the Capitol that day for the sake of his children.
“I do not believe that I have committed any crime. One of the accusations was very upsetting. It is alleged that I hit a police officer. That is baseless,” he said.
He went on to say he was asking for “government protection” in Belarus because of the “political persecution” he was experiencing in the U.S., which involved the FBI releasing a photo of him and questioning his family on his whereabouts.