June 9, 2022 3.25 pm

Captured Brits sentenced to death in Russian-occupied Ukraine

The court is not internationally recognised

Two British men and a Moroccan national who were captured by Russian forces in Ukraine have been sentenced to death, according to a Russian state-owned news agency.

Aiden Aslin (from Newark) and Shaun Pinner, 28 and 48 respectively, were captured by Russian soldiers in the besieged port city of Mariupol in April, while serving within their regiment of the Ukrainian Marines.

Both were paraded on Russian state television, looking beaten and bruised, as they appealed for their release in exchange for pro-Kremlin political Viktor Medvedchuk – who is currently facing a treason trial in Ukraine.

Shaun Pinner, reportedly captured in Mariupol, was paraded on Russian state TV. | Photo: YouTube

They have been held in detention ever since, with a Russian mouthpiece British ‘journalist’ by the name of Graham Phillips posting a now-removed “interview” with Aslin, in which the Newark-born man discusses his conditions and claims the Ukrainian soldiers are the villains in this conflict. It is unclear if he was under duress at any point in this interview.

The British pair were joined by Moroccan national Saadun Brahim in a court in the Donetsk People’s Republic, an unrecognised breakaway state held by pro-Russian rebels.

Aiden Aslin appearing on Russian state TV in April. | Photo: Twitter

The trial allowed no witness evidence to be heard, as the president of the DRP said their alleged crimes were “monstrous”.

The family of Aiden Aslin have continued to appeal for his safe return to the UK, describing him as a “much-loved man” that is “very much missed.”

Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported on Thursday that the three men were told they face the death penalty by “The Supreme Court of the DPR”, which passed sentence on the trio – who are described as mercenaries in Russia, but prisoners of war in the UK and elsewhere.

Aiden Aslin when he was in Syria. | Photo: Facebook

The UK government has made it clear that the men are prisoners of war, not mercenaries, meaning they should not face prosecution for their roles in the hostilities in Ukraine.

Both Aslin and Pinner have lived in Ukraine for a number of years, having joined the Ukrainian forces years before the invasion of the Eastern European country at the hands of Russia earlier this year.