(Headline USA) Belarus has granted asylum to a suspect in the Jan. 6 Capitol protest who is facing federal indictment in the U.S.
Evan Neumann, 49, claims he is facing political persecution at home, where he is wanted by the FBI for allegedly assaulting police officers and using a metal barricade as a battering ram during the J6 melee.
In a video posted by Belarusian state media, Neumann said his refuge in Belarus is “bittersweet.”
“I am very grateful, and it is bittersweet,” he said. “So very happy and very sad at the same time.”
“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,” he continued. “I do not believe that I have committed any crime.”
Neumann fled the U.S. last year and traveled to Ukraine shortly before being charged by federal authorities for his alleged role in the Capitol riot. He fled to Belarus on foot after Ukrainian authorities began pursuing him, he said.
“Now you are completely under the protection of the Republic of Belarus,” a Belarusian official told him in the video.
Neumann has denied any wrongdoing in regards to the Capitol riot and said the charges federal authorities have brought against him are a lie.
“One of the accusations was very upsetting,” he said. “It is alleged that I hit a police officer. That is baseless.”
Belarus has been hit with severe Western sanctions for aiding Russian dictator Vladimir Putin‘s invasion of Ukraine. But both Belarus and Russia have alleged that the U.S.’s crackdown on Jan. 6 dissidents was draconian.
In an interview with NBC in June, for example, Putin suggested that the hundreds of people arrested for rioting at the U.S. Capitol were being subjected to “persecution for political opinions.”