Fury as two Brits captured in Ukraine sentenced to death by 'sham' Russian court

9 June 2022, 15:05 | Updated: 9 June 2022, 17:59

Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, have been sentenced to death by 'firing squad'
Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, have been sentenced to death by 'firing squad'. Picture: Sky News

By Daisy Stephens

MPs have shared their outrage after Russian state media announced that two Brits captured by forces whilst fighting in Ukraine will be executed by firing squad.

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The Russian-owned RIA Novosti reported Aiden Aslin, 28, from Nottinghamshire, Shaun Pinner, 48, from Bedfordshire, and a third man, Moroccan national Saaudun Brahim have all been sentenced to death in Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine.

They were found guilty of mercenarism and "committing actions aimed at seizing power and overthrowing the constitutional order of the Donetsk People's Republic" in a court that is not internationally recognised.

RIA Novosti said the three are set to face a firing squad.

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The UK Government is "deeply concerned" following the sentences, Downing Street said.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss condemned the death sentences as a "sham judgment with absolutely no legitimacy".

The trio have a month to appeal the sentence, according to Interfax, another Russian news agency.

The chair of the panel of judges Alexander Nikulin said the sentence was fair, saying the court had been guided by "the main, inviolable principle of justice", according to Interfax.

Mr Aslin moved to Ukraine in 2018, became engaged to a Ukrainian and joined the military.

A number of photos and videos of him have been released on Russian TV since his capture, in which he appears injured.

His family previously shared an emotional appeal expressing their hopes for his return to the UK.

Mr Aslin is one of two Brits sentenced to death by Russia
Mr Aslin is one of two Brits sentenced to death by Russia. Picture: Twitter @cossackgundi

"We, the family of Aiden Aslin, wish to ask for privacy at this time from the media," the family said in a written statement on Tuesday.

"This is a very sensitive and emotional time for our family, and we would like to say thank you to all that have supported us.

"We are currently working with the Ukrainian government and the Foreign Office to try and bring Aiden home.

"Aiden is a much-loved man and very much missed, and we hope that he will be released very soon."

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Mr Pinner is a "much-loved" husband and father
Mr Pinner is a "much-loved" husband and father. Picture: LBC

Mr Pinner was in the British Army before he moved to Ukraine four years ago.

He is married to a Ukrainian.

His family previously said he is a "much-loved, well-intentioned husband, son, father, brother and friend".

Russian state media said yesterday Mr Aslin and Mr Pinner could face up to 20 years behind bars after they were said to have admitted "training in order to carry out terrorist activities".

In footage shared by Ria Novosti on social media on Wednesday, a translator can be heard asking Mr Aslin if he would "plead guilty" to an offence, to which he replied: "Yes."

The video appeared to show the two Britons in the dock in the pro-Russian territory's supreme court alongside Mr Brahim, a Moroccan national.

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Mr Aslin's family's local MP Robert Jenrick said Putin could not "treat British citizens like this and get away with it" and called for the Russian Ambassador to be summoned to the Foreign Office.

"This disgusting Soviet-era style show trial is the latest reminder of the depravity of Putin's regime," said the Newark MP.

"Russia should be clear, they cannot treat British citizens like this and get away with it.

"Contrary to the Kremlin's propaganda, Aiden Aslin is not a mercenary.

Read more: British fighter in Ukraine faces death penalty after capture by Russian forces

"He has been living in Ukraine and serving in its armed forces before Russia's illegal invasion and as a prisoner of war is entitled to protection under the Geneva Convention.

"The Russian ambassador should be summoned to the Foreign Office to account for this most egregious breach of the Geneva Convention.

"Aiden must be released as soon as practicable."

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A No 10 spokesman said: "We are obviously deeply concerned by this.

"We have said continually that prisoners of war shouldn't be exploited for political purposes.

"You will know that under the Geneva Convention prisoners of war are entitled to combatant immunity and they should not be prosecuted for participation in hostilities.

"So we will continue to work with the Ukrainian authorities to try and secure the release of any British nationals who were serving in the Ukrainian armed forces and who are being held as prisoners of war."