The family of the British fighter who was captured by Russian forces in Ukraine and sentenced to death have spoken out and are demanding he is treated with respect.
Aiden Aslin, 28, from Nottinghamshire and Shaun Pinner, 48, from Bedfordshire, appeared in court in Donetsk People's Republic were they were both sentenced to death, along with Moroccan national Saaudun Brahim.
According to the BBC, the men are accused of being mercenaries. However, their families insist they are prisoners of war.
The two British fighters were captured while battling Kremlin troops in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.
The family of Aslin have now spoken out about the sentencing, saying to the Newark Advertiser in an emotional statement: "We've heard the news from Donetsk and need some time to take everything in. We love Aiden with all our hearts.
"He and Shaun, as members of Ukrainian armed forces, should be treated with respect just like any other prisoners of war. They are not, and never were, mercenaries.
It is believed that Aslin's mother, Ann Wood, found out about the sentencing while watching the news at her family home.
The family added: "We hope that this sentence will be overturned and beseech the government's of the UK and Ukraine to do everything in their power to have them returned to us safely, and soon. We can only imagine what they are going through right now.
"This is a very upsetting development and we ask that our privacy is respected at this time."
Foreign Secretary Lizz Truss called the death sentence a 'sham judgement with absolutely no legitimacy'. And 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.”
It has been reported that Asin is hopeful that his cooperation with the investigation will lead to leniency but has made it clear he knows the death penalty is still at stake.
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: Newsflash
Topics: Ukraine, World News