48-year-old Evan Neumann of California, aka the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrectionist who fled to Belarus last year to escape the FBI, has been granted asylum in the eastern European country, according to Belarusian state-owned news agency BELTA.
Neumann “received refugee status in Belarus,” BELTA reported on Tuesday, per Russian news agency Interfax. “The document was handed to him today at the Department of Citizenship and Migration of the Internal Affairs Directorate of the Brest Regional Executive Committee.”
Everything’s gone swimmingly, according to Neumann, who ran away from the U.S. in February last year.
“I feel safe in Belarus. I’m calm, I like it in the country,” the refugee reportedly said, per BELTA. “Today I have mixed feelings. I’m glad because Belarus took care of me. I’m upset because I found myself in such a situation that problems arose in my native country.”
Some of those “problems” are the 14 criminal counts Neumann’s been indicted on, which include assaulting police officers and engaging in violence with a deadly or dangerous weapon, after he and the rest of the pro-Trump mob ransacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 last year.
Neumann is now on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list.
After fleeing from the U.S. on Feb. 16, according to the FBI, the insurrectionist reemerged in November in a state-run Belarus 1 TV segmented titled “Goodbye, America!” during which he recounted a bizarre tale of navigating swamps and feral hogs while traveling from Ukraine to Belarus.
But Belarus 1 TV heralded Neumann as a brave individual who “sought justice and asked uncomfortable questions” and is “being persecuted” for it.
News of Minsk granting Neumann asylum comes with the backdrop of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which was partially facilitated by the Belarusian government (though Belarus has largely avoided direct involvement in the conflict).