A Capitol rioter charged with six crimes and currently being sought by the FBI is seeking asylum in Belarus. Evan Neumann, who was charged in July, quickly sold his California home and fled the country. Eventually, Neumann reached Belarus, known as Europe’s last dictatorship, and is now being portrayed by state media as a “simple American” who is fleeing political persecution.
In an interview with the Belarus state media, Neumann claimed that the alleged crimes against him are false.
The Daily Mail reports:
‘Judging by his story, [Neumann] is the same type of simple American whose shops were burned by Black Lives Matter activists,’ a Belarus TV channel presenter said as he introduced Neumann.
He added that Neumann had been ‘politically active,’ but did not have access to state secrets.
‘However, something makes him flee from the country of fabulous freedoms and opportunities, as we used to believe,’ the reporter stated, saying that Neumann ‘sought justice and asked uncomfortable questions’ following the 2020 presidential election ‘but lost almost everything and is being persecuted by the U.S. government.’
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, and dodged wild hogs and snakes. He was held by Belarusian border authorities on August 15.
Neumann’s future isn’t clear as Belarus does not have an extradition treaty with the United States and tensions have been heightened since American officials accused Belarus’s August 2020 presidential election of being rigged.