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08th Jun 2022

Brits captured by Russian forces face death penalty

Charlie Herbert

Brits captured by Russian forces face death penalty

The men have been accused of ‘monstrous’ crimes by Russia

Two British men captured by Russian forces are facing the death penalty after they appeared in court accused of being mercenaries.

Aiden Aslin, from Newark in Nottinghamshire, and Shaun Pinner, from Bedfordshire, are being held in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, a breakaway region in the east of Ukraine.

The president of the region, Denis Pushilin, has accused the men of “monstrous” crimes and alleges that they had been fighting for Ukraine.

They are being charged with trying to seize power and committing crimes against groups of people.

If they are found guilty of these charges, they could face the death penalty.

Aslin, 28, and Pinner, 48, were taken prisoner in Mariupol in April.

Footage of the pair at a court hearing alongside a third man, Moroccan national Saaudun Brahim, was shared on Telegram.

In a statement in Tuesday, Aslin’s family said they were working with the Ukrainian government and UK Foreign Office to try and free him.

They said: “Aiden is a much-loved man and very much missed, and we hope that he will be released very soon.”

Pinner’s family say he was not a volunteer or a mercenary and had in fact been “officially serving with the Ukrainian army.”

He has lived in Ukraine since 2018 and was on his fourth of duty in the country after serving for nine years in the British Army, Sky News reports.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for the Brits to be treated as prisoners of war and for their rights to therefore be respected under the Geneva Convention.

Asked about the case on Wednesday morning, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab told LBC: “I don’t know all the details, but of course we would expect the laws of armed conflict to be respected, and we will make sure that we will make all the representations.

“I know the Foreign Office will be looking at making sure all those representations are made.”

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