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Evan Neumann, Accused in Capitol Riot, Granted Asylum in Belarus

A U.S. citizen wanted by the F.B.I. on costs together with assaulting cops on the riot on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, has been granted asylum in Belarus, state media for the repressive Japanese European nation introduced.

Evan Neumann, a former California resident whom prosecutors in Washington have accused of greater than a dozen crimes, together with putting cops and utilizing a steel barricade as a battering ram, left the USA quickly after the riot final 12 months.

After crossing into Belarus close to the southwestern metropolis of Pinsk final August, Mr. Neumann, 49, formally utilized for asylum, based on state media. Belarusian authorities confirmed Tuesday that the request had been granted, airing footage on Belta, the state news agency, that appeared to indicate Mr. Neumann, 49, formally signing an immigration doc.

“Now you’re utterly underneath the safety of the Republic of Belarus,” mentioned an official recognized by Belta as Yuriy Brazinskiy, an immigration official in Brest, town the place Mr. Neumann resides. The standing was legitimate for “an indefinite time frame,” Mr. Brazinskiy mentioned.

Mr. Neumann mentioned he was grateful, however known as the expertise “bittersweet, like consuming cranberries.”

However, he added, “I really feel protected in Belarus, particularly in comparison with my compatriots in America.”

The F.B.I. mentioned in an e-mail that Mr. Neumann was nonetheless wished however declined to remark additional.

The small Japanese 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 most important 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.

Final 12 months, 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., based on prosecutors, mentioned in earlier interviews with Belarusian state media that mates had warned him he was on the F.B.I.’s most wished record.

In documents filed in the USA District Courtroom for the District of Columbia, prosecutors mentioned that physique digicam footage from cops confirmed Mr. Neumann verbally abusing cops.

“I’m keen to die, are you?” he apparently mentioned to 1 officer. He additionally used his arms and fists to strike a police officer by 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 criticism mentioned, and used expletives to discuss with cops.

Mr. Neumann has denied putting 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 a number of European international locations earlier than settling in Ukraine, a rustic he had beforehand visited, for 4 months.

However he felt that the Ukrainian authorities had been monitoring him, he mentioned, and determined to go to Belarus, which he described as “in opposition to the West.”

He mentioned his new standing in Belarus meant he was now capable of journey to different components of the nation, together with the capital, Minsk, however that he would settle in Brest. “I’ve began a life right here,” he mentioned.

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