Two British men captured by Russian forces in Ukraine have been sentenced to death.
Aiden Aslin, 28, from Nottinghamshire, Shaun Pinner, 48, from Bedfordshire appeared in court in Donetsk People's Republic, which is held by pro-Russian rebels, along with Moroccan national Saaudun Brahim.
The men have been accused of being mercenaries, according to the BBC, but their families claim they were Ukraine's military.
In a post on Telegram, Russian-owned news agency RIA Novosti said: "The Supreme Court of the DPR passed the first sentence on mercenaries – the British Aiden Aslin and Sean Pinner and the Moroccan Saadun Brahim were sentenced to death, RIA Novosti correspondent reports from the courtroom."
Speaking yesterday, former Conservative minister Robert Jenrick called the incident a ‘outrageous breach of international law’.
Jenrick told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: “[Aslin] is a British citizen, but who also holds Ukrainian nationality, is married to a Ukrainian, joined the Ukrainian armed forces in the normal way prior to [Vladimir] Putin’s illegal invasion, and has been serving in the armed forces.
“He was taken prisoner by Russian forces and in accordance with international law and the Geneva Convention, he should be being held appropriately and returned to Ukraine at the earliest possible opportunity, possibly through a prisoner exchange.
“Instead of that Putin’s regime have chosen to put him and another British national, Shaun Pinner, on trial on trumped up charges, no evidence whatsoever. This is, I’m afraid, a completely outrageous breach of international law and it should be condemned.”
He added: “What I hope happens is that a prisoner exchange occurs in the near future. The Russian authorities have chosen to make an example out of these two British nationals and it is, I think, completely shameful.”
In an emotional statement released yesterday (8 June), Aslin’s family said: “We, the family of Aiden Aslin, wish to ask for privacy at this time from the media.
“This is a very sensitive and emotional time for our family, and we would like to say thank you to all that have supported us.
“We are currently working with the Ukrainian government and the Foreign Office to try and bring Aiden home. Aiden is a much-loved man and very much missed, and we hope that he will be released very soon.”
A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “We are working with the government of Ukraine on the detention of British Nationals.
“We condemn the exploitation of Prisoners of War for political purposes. They are entitled to combatant immunity and should not be prosecuted for participation in hostilities.”
Featured Image Credit: Twitter/Telegram
Topics: UK News
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