Hundreds of people have been indicted for their roles in the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, including 49-year-old Evan Neumann.
At the time of the riot Neumann was a resident of Mill Valley, Calif. He was indicted last year on multiple counts, including assaulting officers and violent entry, but sold his home and fled the country before authorities could serve him with a federal arrest warrant. Today, Newsweek is reporting that Neumann has been granted asylum by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
He told Gazeta, a Russian news site, that he feels he is safe in Belarus. In an interview on Belarusian state television late last year, Neumann claimed - without justification - that he was certain he would "face certain torture" if he were ever to return to the United States. "I'm not strong enough to withstand torture," he said.
He has accused the federal government of staging an elaborate set-up on Jan. 6 and falsely claimed that the doors of the Capitol "were opened from the inside and we were invited to come in."
Belarus and Russia are using Neumann and his asylum for propaganda purpose, according to The Moscow Times.
"Judging by his story, [Neumann] is the same type of simple American whose shops were burned by Black Lives Matter activists," said one Belarus 1 TV channel presenter, echoing a talking point from Russian state television.