A protester who is wanted by the FBI for his role in the January 6 riot at the Capitol has been granted asylum in Belarus after claiming that he was facing political persecution in the U.S.
Evan Neumann, 48, was hit with six criminal charges back in July that included violent entry, disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, and assaulting, resisting, and obstructing law enforcement. The FBI claims to have footage that shows Neumann assaulting an officer.
Immediately after the charges were filed, Neumann sold his California home for $1.3 million and fled to Belarus. Daily Mail reported on how he got there:
“To get to Belarus, Neumann flew to Italy, then got on a train to Switzerland, and drove to Ukraine via Germany and Poland. Once in Ukraine, he rented an apartment for six months but claims he was being followed by the Ukrainian secret service. He then says he crossed illegally into Belarus by wading through swamps, dodges wild hogs and snakes. He was held by Belarusian border authorities on August 15.”
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
Yesterday, Neumann was interviewed on Belarus 1 in a segment titled “Goodbye, America.”
“Judging by his story, [Neumann] is the same type of simple American whose shops were burned by Black Lives Matter activists,” the reporter interviewing Neumann said. “However, something makes him flee from the country of fabulous freedoms and opportunities, as we used to believe.”
The reporter added that Neumann “sought justice and asked uncomfortable questions,” causing him to lose “almost everything and is being persecuted by the U.S. government.”
“I do not believe that I have committed any crime,” Neumann said. “One of the charges was very offensive. It is alleged that I hit a police officer.”
“There is no reason for this,” he continued. “This is terrible. This is political persecution. And this is a level with which I cannot do anything.”
Neumann went on to say that he knew that he would be identified as one of the protesters as soon as the FBI asked for help in finding his name.
“I have many friends working for the government,” he explained. “I knew that they would immediately identify me, and therefore [I] left the first thing. I started hiding, traveling across America from one point to another. I hired a lawyer, and the lawyer said that I could go to Europe on a business trip.”
Neumann also lamented that he is now on the FBI’s Most Wanted Criminals List. In the end, he felt like he had no choice but to flee the country.