Facebook removes video of captured Briton after Dorries rang Clegg, PM says

26 April 2022, 23:34

Facebook file image
Facebook file image. Picture: PA

Aiden Aslin was captured while fighting with Ukrainian armed forces against Russia earlier this month.

Facebook has removed video of a captured British soldier being questioned while handcuffed after Sir Nick Clegg was contacted, the Prime Minister has said.

Boris Johnson said the clip of Aiden Aslin was taken down after Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries rang former UK deputy prime minister Sir Nick, who is now the vice president of global affairs at Facebook’s parent company Meta.

Speaking to TalkTv, Mr Johnson said: “Nadine Dorries rang Facebook earlier today, she rang Nick Clegg, and as I understand the matter Nick has agreed to take that down.”

Meta is understood to have been investigating the video prior to Ms Dorries’ intervention.

The footage of Mr Aslin, who was captured while fighting with Ukrainian armed forces against Russia earlier this month, was released by British man Graham Phillips.

The video, which was also uploaded to YouTube but has since been taken down, shows Mr Aslin with injuries to his face and being asked if he is speaking of his own free will and with “absolutely” no coercion.

Mr Aslin replies: “Yes, I agreed to this”, before staring blankly into the camera.

His family told TalkTv on Monday they were “horrified” by the footage, calling for Mr Johnson to “act now” to free him and have urged for a prisoner swap to take place.

In footage broadcast on Russia’s Rossiya 24 last week, Shaun Pinner, a second Briton who has been captured, addressed Mr Johnson and appeared to ask for himself and Mr Aslin to be swapped for pro-Kremlin politician Viktor Medvedchuk, who has been held in Ukraine.

Mr Johnson said the Government “will do what they can” regarding the prison swap.

“Clearly it is for the Ukrainians,” he told TalkTv. “They have the other individual who is part of the equation. We can’t really pre-empt what they may decide.”

Mr Johnson added: “It is very important to understand that Aiden and other UK nationals who have been fighting for the Ukraine armed forces who get captured are not hostages and they are not to be swapped as though they are terrorists – they are prisoners of war.

“They are, therefore, entitled to rights under the Geneva Convention.

“They should not be paraded in front of the cameras. They should not be made to give hostage videos – that is a breach of their rights as prisoners of war.”

A spokesperson for Meta said: “We’ve removed the video in question for violating our Privacy Policy.”

By Press Association

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