A U.S. citizen wanted by the F.B.I. on expenses together with assaulting law enforcement officials on the riot at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, has been granted asylum in Belarus, state media for the repressive Eastern European country introduced.
Evan Neumann, a former California resident whom prosecutors in Washington have accused of greater than a dozen crimes, together with hanging law enforcement officials and utilizing a steel barricade as a battering ram, left the United States quickly after the riot final yr.
After crossing into Belarus close to the southwestern metropolis of Pinsk final August, Mr. Neumann, 49, formally utilized for asylum, in line with state media. Belarusian authorities confirmed Tuesday that the request had been granted, airing footage on Belta, the state news agency, that appeared to point out Mr. Neumann, 49, formally signing an immigration doc.
“Now you are completely under the protection of the Republic of Belarus,” mentioned an official recognized by Belta as Yuriy Brazinskiy, an immigration official in Brest, the town the place Mr. Neumann resides. The standing was legitimate for “an indefinite period of time,” Mr. Brazinskiy mentioned.
Mr. Neumann mentioned he was grateful, however known as the expertise “bittersweet, like eating cranberries.”
But, he added, “I feel safe in Belarus, especially compared to my compatriots in America.”
The F.B.I. mentioned in an electronic mail that Mr. Neumann was nonetheless wished however declined to remark additional.
The small Eastern European nation has been headed for nearly three a long time by Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, who has wielded his energy to violently crack down on 1000’s of individuals protesting an election in 2020 that many Western nations known as rigged. His main political opponent was compelled to flee the nation, and human rights groups have criticized the federal government for its impunity in persecuting journalists and opponents.
Last yr, Mr. Lukashenko ordered the interception of a Ryanair flight over Belarusian airspace carrying a distinguished dissident journalist, an act that some European international locations denounced as a “state hijacking.”
Mr. Neumann, who owns a bag-making firm and had resided in Mill Valley, Calif., in line with prosecutors, mentioned in earlier interviews with Belarusian state media that pals had warned him he was on the F.B.I.’s most wished record.
In documents filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, prosecutors mentioned that physique digital camera footage from law enforcement officials confirmed Mr. Neumann verbally abusing law enforcement officials.
“I’m willing to die, are you?” he apparently mentioned to 1 officer. He additionally used his palms and fists to strike a police officer by way of a steel barricade earlier than utilizing the barricade as a battering ram geared toward officers, the paperwork mentioned. And he resisted orders to depart the Capitol steps, the grievance mentioned, and used expletives to seek advice from law enforcement officials.
Mr. Neumann has denied hanging officers, or committing any crimes, and has mentioned in interviews with Belarusian state media that he traveled to Europe final February on a enterprise journey, passing by way of a number of European international locations earlier than settling in Ukraine, a rustic he had beforehand visited, for 4 months.
But he felt that the Ukrainian authorities have been monitoring him, he mentioned, and determined to go to Belarus, which he described as “against the West.”
He mentioned his new standing in Belarus meant he was now capable of journey to different elements of the nation, together with the capital, Minsk, however that he would settle in Brest. “I have started a life here,” he mentioned.