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10/11/2021 | US citizen wanted for January 6 attack on Capitol seeks political asylum in Belarus

Joseph Fitsanakis

AN AMERICAN CITIZEN WHO allegedly participated in the January 6, 2021, attack on the United States Capitol appears to have fled abroad and is said to be seeking political asylum in Belarus.

 

Five people died as a result of a concerted attempt by thousands of supporters of the then-President Donald Trump to storm the United States Capitol Complex and invalidate the electoral victory of Joe Biden. Over 650 individuals are now facing federal charges for participating in the insurrection.

According to reports, California resident Evan Neumann was among those participating in the attack. Neumann, 48, is reportedly a handbag manufacturer who until recently lived in the well-to-do city of Mill Valley, near San Francisco. In March of this year, he was charged with six counts of criminal activity, including felonies for participating in a civil disorder and assaulting a police officer. He now appears to have fled the United States and to be seeking political asylum in the former Soviet Republic of Belarus, which is often referred to as Europe’s last dictatorship.

In a widely publicized television news segment aired on November 7, Neumann told the state-owned Belarus 1 news channel that he had been advised by “his lawyer […] to flee to Europe”. He had therefore traveled to northern Europe, ostensibly for business, from where he entered Switzerland by train, before traveling to Germany and Poland. From Poland he entered Ukraine in April, where he rented an apartment and planned to settle permanently. He claims, however, that he was “being followed by agents” of the SBU, the Security Service of Ukraine.

One night in August, Neumann “crossed illegally by foot into Belarus”, trekking through thick forest and swamps, and “dodging wild boars and snakes”. He is now seeking political asylum in Belarus. He is hoping to avoid American justice, given that Belarus does not share an extradition treaty with the United States. Under its authoritarian leader, Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus has faced concerted criticism from Western nations about its human rights record and fraught election practices. In the November 7 news segment, Neumann described the outstanding federal charges against him as “unfounded”, and said that they amounted to “political persecution”.

Intelnews.org (Estados Unidos)

 



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