A California man wanted for allegedly assaulted police officers during the January 6 insurgency has applied for refuge in Belarus.
After being identified in a video recorded during the riot, Evan Neumann was charged in July on six counts, including assaulting officers and violent entry, but he had already sold his house in the Bay Area and fled to Ukraine before going to Belarus, which is using his asylum for propaganda purposes, according to The Moscow Times.
“Judging by his story, [Neumann] is the same type of simple American whose shops were burned by Black Lives Matter activists,” said one Belarus 1 TV channel presenter.
Neumann, 48, told the TV station that he fled Ukraine after being pursued by security agents, and he was apprehended on the border between the two former Soviet republics on Aug. 15.
Neumann, 48, is wanted in the United States for violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, as well as assaulting, resisting, and obstructing law police during a civil disturbance. Neumann calls the allegations “unfounded.”
Neumann was believed to have moved to Ukraine to avoid arrest after selling his California house in the spring.
“Judging by his story, [Neumann] is the same type of simple American whose shops were burned by Black Lives Matter activists,” a Belarus 1 TV channel presenter said, echoing a common talking point on Russian state television.
A California man who is on the FBI’s Most Wanted List for allegedly attacking police during the Jan. 6 Capitol riot has claimed asylum in the former Soviet republic of Belarus https://t.co/aGVKrOtyYJ
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) November 8, 2021
Neumann “sought justice and asked uncomfortable questions” following the 2020 U.S. elections disputed by ex-President Donald Trump, the presenter added, “but lost almost everything and is being persecuted by the U.S. government.”
Neumann was seized by Belarusian border guards on the Ukrainian border on August 15.
Neumann described navigating muddy swamps and seeing wild hogs and snakes on his way from Ukraine to Belarus in an interview. Neumann flew from the United States to Italy in March, then boarded a train to Switzerland, drove to Germany and Poland, and finally settled in western Ukraine, where he had rented a residence for four months.
Evan Neumann is on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for violence at the #Capitol.
Turns out he’s fled into the welcoming arms of the Belarusian dictatorship.
Here he is appearing on State TV in a segment called “Goodbye America.”
— John Scott-Railton (@jsrailton) November 8, 2021
According to him, he left the United States in March on the advice of his lawyer. Neumann said he went to Italy, then boarded a train to Switzerland, borrowed a car to go via Germany to Poland, and ultimately arrived in Ukraine, where he lived in a rented flat. Neumann stated that after four months of residing in central Zhytomyr, he became aware of SBU surveillance and escaped the country, crossing the Belarusian border on foot through marshes near the Chernobyl exclusion zone.
“It was very difficult to cross it, I started around noon and was only able to get out by half-past two in the morning,” Neumann said. “I’ve seen wild boars, bumped into snakes, vipers there just go crazy in August, they are very aggressive.”
US Capitol riot defendant is seeking asylum in Belarus, according to Belarusian state media
Evan Neumann is accused of assaulting DC police officer, using barricade as battering ram and calling police “motherf***” & “F*** murderers”
FBI calls it open investigation. He’s wanted pic.twitter.com/naqFzycJhT
— Scott MacFarlane (@MacFarlaneNews) November 8, 2021
Two weeks into his stay, Neumann said he spotted Ukrainian security agencies “following” him, prompting him to travel into Belarus and request asylum.
Belarusian migration authorities declined to comment, citing personal data confidentiality, according to RIA Novosti, a Russian state-run news agency.
“Goodbye, America!” That’s the title of this segment on Belarusian state TV in which American Evan Neumann of California explains he fled the US to evade the FBI. He’s wanted on 6 counts related to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and now wants asylum in authoritarian Belarus. pic.twitter.com/ncxebdfylO
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) November 8, 2021
According to the publication, at least three Americans have asked for refuge in Belarus so far in 2021.
Meanwhile, Belarus has been accused of organizing a migrant and refugee influx, primarily from the Middle East, into European Union member states’ borders in response to EU sanctions. The claims have been denied by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.