Newark

The Monkeypox virus has officially landed in our region, with the first confirmed cases in North Lincolnshire and Newark this week.

The cases were released in the weekly Noids report published by the UK Health Security Agency, stating that as of the week ending June 19, a further 17 Monkeypox cases were confirmed in the UK.

One of these cases was in the North Lincolnshire upper authority, with another nearby at the county border in Newark and Sherwood district.

Monkeypox is a rare, little-known disease that occurs mostly in remote parts of Africa, caused by a virus from the same family as smallpox.

There are now more than 750 confirmed cases of Monkeypox virus in the UK, with the government bringing out small stocks of the smallpox vaccine to provide protection.

ALSO READ: What is monkeypox and how do you catch it?

The grandmother of Aiden Aslin has said the captured Brit was in a distressed state calling home to tell them he would die soon, following a death sentence in a Russian court.

Aslin, 28, has been held by pro-Russian forces since April, when he was forced to surrender along with his Ukrainian marine counterparts after weeks of shelling in the port city.

He and Shaun Pinner, two British nationals that moved to Ukraine in 2018 and have served in the country’s armed forces for four years, have been kept in detention ever since, and were recently paraded in a proxy court in the Donetsk People’s Republic – facing ‘war crimes’.

Aiden Aslin (left), Shaun Pinner (middle) and Saadun Brahim (right) will face the death penalty after being sentenced in an internationally unrecognised court in the Donetsk People’s Republic. | Photo: Telegram

Both Aslin and Pinner, along with Moroccan national Saadun Brahim, were sentenced to death earlier in June at an internationally unrecognised court in an internationally unrecognised state – but as yet no action has been taken against the controversial verdict.

Since the verdict, Aiden Aslin has been given the opportunity to call his parents back in Newark, Nottinghamshire, and he was apparently in a ‘distressed state’ as those who are keeping him captive told him his ‘time was running out’.

His grandmother Pamela Hall spoke to the BBC about Aiden’s phone call with his mum, describing it as “very distressing”.

She said: “She [Aiden’s mum] was very upset by it, much like we all are. I’m sure his captors have made him make a phone call, but Aiden believed what they have told him.”

Aiden Aslin was interviewed by a notorious pro-Russian conspiracy journalist, while in detention for fighting as a Ukrainian marine. | Photo: YouTube

There are now genuine fears that this death penalty for Aslin, Pinner and Brahim will go ahead, with claims that there’s been no word from the UK government on contact reached to save the trio.

A protest is being held in Nottingham near Aiden’s hometown of Newark on Saturday to try and raise awareness of the issue and demand his release from the Donetsk People’s Republic.

Despite Foreign Secretary Liz Truss meeting her Ukrainian counterpart to discuss Aiden Aslin’s case in recent weeks, it would not appear that the UK are any closer to negotiating a safe release for him or his two fellow prisoners of war.

In line with the Geneva Convention, the government are asking for the men to be treated as prisoners of war and not mercenaries, but Russian state-affiliated media still suggests that all three come under the category of the latter.

Pamela also had a message for Russian president Vladimir Putin: “I do believe he has the power to stop this. From the bottom of my heart I plead, please, let these guys go.”

The family of a captured British man who was sentenced to death by pro-Russian rebels in an internationally unrecognised court, due to fighting in the Ukrainian resistance effort, will take part in a protest this weekend calling for his release.

Aiden Aslin, 28, has been held captive by Russian-affiliated troops since April this year, after he was part of a surrendering group of Ukrainian soldiers defending the now besieged port city of Mariupol in the Eastern European nation.

A controversial court ruling, which many suggest is a breach of international law, sentenced Aslin and two other men, fellow Brit Shaun Pinner and Moroccan male Saadun Brahim, to death earlier in June – and a protest has been planned to try and enable a safe passage home for the trio.

The protest will be held at Nottingham’s Old Market Square on Sunday, June 26, starting at 10.30am – organised by the Notts Ukraine Solidarity Campaign.

Members of Aiden Aslin’s family will join protestors demanding his safe release from the clutches of the Russian forces in the unrecognised Donetsk People’s Republic state.

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

Animosity towards the incident started back in April, when 28-year-old former care worker Aslin, from Newark, appeared on Russian state television along with Shaun Pinner, 48, from Watford.

The pair had been captured by Russian soldiers as they fought alongside the Ukrainian military in a resistance effort in the port city of Mariupol – but were forced to surrender.

Both men called for a prisoner exchange, but have continued to be held in detention, with Aslin even being the subject of an “interview” by freelance British documentary maker Graham Phillips – a man with longstanding Russian ties who has been accused of being a Kremlin mouthpiece.

Aiden Aslin was interviewed by a notorious pro-Russian conspiracy journalist, while in detention for fighting as a Ukrainian marine. | Photo: YouTube

The pair then appeared in a proxy court in the Donetsk People’s Republic, alongside Moroccan national Saadun Brahim, facing war crimes brought to them by pro-Russian rebels.

No witness evidence was allowed at the trial, and all three men were sentenced to death in a verdict that caused uproar in the United Kingdom and beyond.

The court ruling, which has not been recognised by international law, has been widely considered as a breach of the Geneva Convention regarding treatment of prisoners of war – though Russia continue to allege that the men are mercenaries.

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

It has attracted the attention of Aslin’s local MP Robert Jenrick, who mentioned the prisoners in the House of Commons recently, as well as Foreign Secretary Liz Truss – who said the government will do “everything we can” to support his family.

The next step in calling for the men’s release has been to organise a protest near to Aiden’s hometown of Newark, with many expected to attend the rally in Nottingham on Sunday.

Organisers of the upcoming protest say: “We are campaigning for this hideous threat made against them to be lifted.

“We demand their immediate release, the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine and an end to the crimes committed by Putin’s forces on the Ukrainian people and its brave fighters now held as POWs.”

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