Capitol violence suspect wants political asylum in Belarus

The suspect is wanted on six counts related to the January 6 attack, which included assaulting police officers and trespassing on the Capitol.

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A man wanted by the FBI on charges of assaulting police officers in Jan. 6 attacks in the U.S. Capitol has fled to Belarus and is trying to seek political asylum there, local media reported.

The man, Evan Neumann, according to his March 23 application in the U.S. Regional Court in Washington, D.C., is wanted on six criminal charges, he told Belarus state television station on Monday that he was fleeing persecution. The charges include misconduct and forcible entry into a Capitol building.

Neumann, according to a court application from Mill Valley, California, in an interview said his lawyer had advised him to go to Europe to do business.

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Neumann said he went to Italy in March and then went to Ukraine. After some months there, he said, Ukrainian security officials began following him, prompting him to cross the border into Belarus, where he was being held by border guards.

"Too bad. Political persecution, not criminal investigation, but political persecution," Neumann said of the charges.

"I don't think I did anything wrong," he said. "One of the most insulting charges was that I assaulted a police officer. This is completely baseless."

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment that the government was planning to grant Neumann asylum.

According to a Department of Justice document, when a crowd of Donald Trump supporters attacked the Capitol in January. 6 to stop the counting of votes and overturn the victory of President Joe Biden, a man who was videotaped and identified as Neumann pushed a wall into the authorities and punched them. officials before asking, "Am I willing to die, you?"

The Department of Justice has opened large cases against people from almost every province, and a House committee investigating the attack has interviewed more than 150 people and released subpoenaes to some of Trump's former allies.

The FBI did not immediately respond to calls and emails seeking comment about the situation Neumann wanted and the remaining cases.

Neumann said in a TV interview that he encountered all sorts of dangers on his way to Belarus.

"I was traveling very fast. I fell into the wet sand once and it was very difficult to get out of it," he said. "I've seen wild pigs come on snakes - snakes in August are very aggressive. Wetlands, pigs, snakes, quagmires, all this was new to me."

The court said Neumann's LinkedIn profile said he "took part in the Orange Ukrainian uprising" in 2004 and 2005, when several protests followed allegations that the presidential election was rigged and rigged.

Neumann did not respond to a request for comment on LinkedIn.

Tim O'Connor, a spokesman for the US Ambassador to Belarus, based in Vilnius, Lithuania, said in a statement: "We have seen Belarusian state media report on Mr. Neumann. Due to US privacy laws, we have limited access to individual American citizens."

He added: "The United States condemns Lukashenko's regime for its brutal actions against members of civil society, the media, athletes, students, legal professionals and other citizens."

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has accused the US of plotting to overthrow him and his government.

The US and many other European states, which have repeatedly criticized Belarus and Lukashenko, imposed economic sanctions on Lukashenko's handling of the disputed presidential election last year. Often referred to as Europe's last dictator, Lukashenko has been in power for 27 years.

The popular post-election protest movement calling for democracy and accountability in Belarus was met with brutal harassment, widespread imprisonment and allegations of brief beatings.