Donald Trump supporter Evan Neumann has been on the FBI’s wanted list for his alleged role in the January 6, 2021 insurrection. But the chances of Neumann being arrested in the United States have gone way down: Neumann, the Washington Post reports, has been granted political asylum in Belarus — whose far-right president, Alexander Lukashenko, is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a supporter of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
On Tuesday, March 22, the Washington Post’s Rachel Pannett reports, BelTA — a government-operated television network in Belarus — aired a video of Neumann “signing a migration document and shaking hands with a police official.” That Belarusian official, in the video, told Neumann, “Now, you are completely under the protection of the Republic of Belarus.” And Neumann thanked him in Russian, which is Belarus’ dominant language.
Neumann told BeITA, “Today, I have mixed feelings. I am glad Belarus took care of me. I am upset to find myself in a situation where I have problems in my own country.”
An FBI wanted poster describes the type of violent crimes that Neumann is suspected of in connection with the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol Building.
According to the FBI, “Evan Neumann was indicted on December 10, 2021, in the District of Columbia on a total of 14 counts, including engaging in physical violence in a restricted building or grounds with a deadly or dangerous weapon, civil disorder, and assaulting, resisting, or impeding certain officers. He fled from the United States on February 16, 2021, and is currently believed to be in Belarus. Neumann was initially charged in a criminal complaint filed on March 23, 2021. A federal arrest warrant was issued for Neumann in the United States District Court, District of Columbia, on December 10, 2021.”
The FBI also says, “It is alleged that Neumann participated in numerous violent acts against multiple law enforcement officers performing their legal duties of protecting the U.S. Capitol Building on January 6, 2021. Neumann allegedly fought with U.S. Capitol Police and Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department officers both inside and outside the U.S. Capitol. During these physical altercations, Neumann not only used his hands and fists to strike the officers, he also allegedly used a metal barricade as a battering ram against the officers.”
But Neumann, now 49, has claimed that he did nothing wrong on January 6, 2021, when a violent mob attacked the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. in the hope of stopping Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory over Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
The government of Lukashenko, Belarus’ strongman president, has committed countless human rights abuses — and Lukashenko has supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, welcoming Russian troops in Belarus in the weeks leading up to the invasion. However, Lukashenko hasn’t sent any Belarusian troops into Ukraine to fight, and on March 4, he said that he has no plans to do so.
Belarus has borders with five countries: Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.
Reprinted with permission from Alternet