The man they want is the FBIFor his participation in the violence Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol has fled the country and is seeking asylum in Belarus, the country’s state-run media reportedOver the weekend
Evan Neumann faces six chargesU.S. District Court. He was charged with assaulting a Police Officer and engaging in violence in restricted areas.
Interview with Belarus 1: The Californian man denied all charges.
“I do not believe that I have committed any crime,” Neumann told a state TV host in a segment called “Goodbye, America!”
“One of the charges was very offensive,” he added. “It is alleged that I hit a police officer. There is no reason for this.”
The charges are supported by documentation. A bodycam video of Neumann trying to breach the Capitol’s outer barriers on Jan. 6 shows Neumann reaching through one barricade to strike an officer with his balled fist.
Neumann said to Belarus 1 he left the U.S.A. for Italy in March on advice from a lawyer and went on renting an apartment in Ukraine during four months. After being followed by Ukrainian security forces, he said that he had fled Ukraine and moved to Belarus. Neumann arrived at the border with Belarus on August 15. He was detained upon arrival.
The criminal complaint notes Neumann attended the Ukrainian Orange Revolution in 2004 and 2005, which could explain why the country’s secret police may have taken an interest in him. An orange and yellow scarf was worn by Neumann to commemorate the visit of the U.S. Capitol on January 1.
Belarus appears eager to use Neumann’s story to boost its anti-West propaganda.
Here’s a portion of the segment translated to English by The Moscow Times, the host portrays Neumann as “the same type of simple American whose shops were burned by Black Lives Matter activists,” adding that he “lost almost everything and is being persecuted by the U.S. government” only because he “sought justice and asked uncomfortable questions.”
Belarus’ authoritarian leader, Alexander Lukashenko, claimed victory in a heavily disputed election last August, sparking massive protests and leading to renewed global scrutiny of “Europe’s last dictatorship.” Lukashenko, who has been in power since 1994, responded by brutally repressing dissidents and arresting thousands.
In May, Belarusian authorities hijacked a Ryanair flightRaman Pratasevich was a journalist that has been critical about the regime.
In August, a well-known Belarusian activist was arrested for helping Belarusians escape from prosecution. found dead under suspicious circumstancesIn a Ukrainian park not far from his house.
The country’s dire political circumstances were again highlighted during the Tokyo Olympics this summer, when Belarusian sprinter Krystsina Tsimanouskaya was granted asylum after officials threatened herQuestions about team management in social media.