Pro-Russian court in Ukraine sentences British, Moroccan fighters to death for ‘mercenary’ acts, ‘terrorism’


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Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine have sentenced two British citizens and a Moroccan to death for fighting with the Ukrainian army in Mariupol

A court in the Russian-controlled Donetsk People’s Republic in Ukraine found Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner guilty of taking action toward a violent overthrow of power, as well as mercenary activities and terrorism. Their crimes carry the punishment of death. 

Both men and Moroccan national Saaudun Brahim were part of Ukrainian forces that surrendered to the Russians weeks ago during the fierce battle for control of the southern port city of Mariupol. 

The conviction followed a days-long process as part of what some called a “disgusting Soviet-era show trial,” the Guardian reported. 

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“I utterly condemn the sentencing of Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner held by Russian proxies in eastern Ukraine,” UK foreign secretary Liz Truss said in a tweet of the trial and conviction. “They are prisoners of war. This is a sham judgment with absolutely no legitimacy.”

“My thoughts are with the families,” Truss continued. “We continue to do everything we can to support them.”

The men have one month to appeal their punishment, but Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported Thursday that all three men would face a firing squad.  

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The U.K. previously tried to distance itself from any British nationals trying to join the fighting in Ukraine despite the fact that Ben Grant, son of British MP Helen Grant, had been seen leading a volunteer unit in an attack against the Russian APC just last week. 

British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had told troops “you cannot just get up and go” into a “dangerous situation” in Ukraine, according to The Guardian.

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Shapps said that if Russia captured or killed volunteer British service members, it was “a big difference between Britain sending its army in and some people who are breaking with our law and going to do it.” 

And a British Ministry of Defense spokesperson had said that “All service personnel are prohibited from traveling to Ukraine until further notice.” 

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“This applies whether the service person is on leave or not,” the spokesperson explained. “Personnel traveling to Ukraine will face disciplinary and administrative consequences.”

But Truss had diverged from the rest of her colleagues, saying just a few days into the war that she would “absolutely” support any nationals who joined the war. 



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