The Supreme Court of the so-called "DPR" sentenced three foreigners who had fought on the side of Ukraine and had been held captive by militants for a long time to death.
The Russian propaganda agency Interfax reported this officially on Telegram. This refers to two Britons — 48-year-old Aiden Aslin, 28-year-old Sean Pinner, as well as the Moroccan national 21-year-old Brahim Saadoun.
Defender of Mariupol
Earlier, their friends and relatives already wrote that the militants of the so-called "DPR", controlled by the Russian invaders, planned to execute three prisoners.
For example, Nika Fesenko, a representative of the Evoplay company, shared the following post:
"I write this not knowing if I will ever see my friend Brian again. He went to the front to defend Ukraine, which became like a homeland for him," her post reads.
Fesenko notes that this refers to a prisoner of war, whose real name is Brahim Saadoun. The Moroccan moved to Ukraine a few years ago and studied at the KPI (Kyiv Polytechnic Institute) at the Faculty of Aviation and Space Systems.
In 2021, Brahim left his studies at the age of 20 and joined the Marine Corps as a volunteer, subsequently signing a contract with the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and after the start of a full-scale invasion, he went to the front to defend Mariupol.
British volunteers and Russia’s lies
The contact with Saadoun was lost in March, Nika writes, and already in April the so-called enemy media began to publish information about him, as well as two British volunteers — Sean Pinner (in the Armed Forces — since 2017) and Aiden Aslin (served in the Armed Forces since 2018).
All three served in the 36th Separate Marine Brigade in Mariupol and were taken prisoner during an unsuccessful breakthrough of Marines from the blockade in mid-April 2022, says resource teacher from the Kirovohrad region Hryhorii Hromko.
According to Fesenko, all three were taken prisoner, after that they were interviewed, and Brahim was even shown on the Russia-1 TV channel.
Each mention of the captives was accompanied by a deceitful description "mercenaries".
"I know for sure that Brahim is sincerely in love with Ukraine and Ukrainians, so this is what prompted him to defend his second home," Nika Fesenko writes.
Violations of Geneva Convention
The enemy actions, such as sentencing prisoners to death, are in direct violation of Article 130 of the Geneva Convention. The latter forbids:
- premeditated murder;
- torture or inhuman treatment, in particular biological experiments;
- wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health;
- compelling a prisoner of war to serve in the forces of an enemy state;
- wilfully depriving a prisoner of war of the rights of fair and regular trial.
Reaction of Great Britain and Ukraine
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has already reacted to the illegal verdict on British volunteers.
"I utterly condemn the sentencing of Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner held by Russian proxies in eastern Ukraine", — she twitted.
Truss added that British citizens had the status of prisoners of war, so such a "sentence" was a fictitious and completely illegal move:
"My thoughts are with the families. We continue to do everything we can to support them".
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine reacted as well. According to the Ministry's spokesperson Oleh Nikolenko, three foreigners are servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and have all the rights of prisoners of war, Radio Svoboda reports.
«The so-called "trial" of UAF servicemen in the occupied Ukrainian territories is pathetic," — he said, adding that such public courts put propaganda interests above the law and morality.
Ukraine is investigating the death sentence on the British and Moroccan by a pseudo-court, said the Prosecutor General of Ukraine Iryna Venediktova.
She called the illegal sentence against foreign prisoners of war "false" and stressed that Ukraine had already launched a pre-trial investigation and would do everything possible to bring the perpetrators to justice.
What will happen to Azov?
After this story broke in social networks, it also caused concern among Ukrainians about the fate of the Azov fighters, who are still in captivity on the territory of ORDLO (»temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine).
On June 1, the Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security reported that « the Russian Federation is planning the so-called trial of the Azov fighters as the last chord of the "denazification" of Ukraine.
At the same time, Pushilin, the DPR leader, promised that the tribunal over them would be international, which, as is clear, the unrecognized territory would not be able to organize in any way.
«The L/DPR» were recognized only by Russia, as well as South Ossetia and Abkhazia that are recognized by nobody. What Pushilin calls an "international tribunal" is not clear even to Russia itself,» the message reads.
However, preparations for this bloody propaganda TV show continue, the center stated: real people are involved in the role of witnesses and victims, including Ukrainians who were forcibly taken to Russia.
It is easy to imagine under what circumstances the so-called evidence of the Azov "atrocities" may appear if they are collected from the same captives as the fighters themselves.
Relatives of the prisoners from Azovstal founded an organization to protect the rights of prisoners of war in an attempt to expedite the process of their return.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, however, said on June 6 that the defenders of Mariupol had become "public prisoners" and therefore it was not in the interests of the Russians to use violence or torture against them.
- Earlier we reported that the commander of the Azov battalion had called his wife on the phone and told about the detention conditions.
- We also covered how the International Red Cross had registered the defenders of Mariupol leaving Azovstal to be taken prisoner.