The family of a Briton sentenced to death for fighting Russian forces say they are “devastated” at his conviction.
Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, were captured in Mariupol while fighting for Ukraine’s 36th Marine Brigade, into which they were both officially enlisted.
The couple were subjected to a “show trial,” observers have described, in a Donetsk court unrecognized by the international community.
Russia’s claim that they were “mercenaries” was dismissed by both Britain and Ukraine, who say they are both legitimate combatants.
Mr Pinner has lived in Ukraine for four years and was on a three-year contract with the Marines, his family said.
They added that his contract would expire at the end of 2022, after which he planned to move to a humanitarian role within Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Mr Aslin has dual British-Ukrainian citizenship, having moved to Ukraine in 2017 after falling in love with his now-wife Diane.
After weeks in detention, they were told they could face the death penalty earlier this week, along with Moroccan national Saaudun Brahim, after pleading “guilty” to a number of charges.
There are widespread fears that all fighters have been ill-treated in detention.
Under the terms of the Geneva Convention, as legitimate soldiers registered with a recognized army, they should be entitled to combatant immunity.
According to Russian media, they have a month to appeal their verdict, raising hopes it is a propaganda ploy or being used as a bargaining chip.
A Foreign Office statement on behalf of Shaun Pinner’s family said: “Firstly, our entire family is devastated and saddened by the outcome of the illegal show trial of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic.
“As a Ukraine resident and contracted Marine in the 36th Brigade for over four years, of which he is very proud, Shaun should be granted all the rights of a prisoner of war under the Geneva Convention, including full independent legal representation.
“We sincerely hope that all parties will work together as a matter of urgency to ensure the safe release or replacement of Shaun. Our family, including his son and his Ukrainian wife, love and miss him so much and our hearts go out to all the families involved in this terrible situation.
“We respectfully ask the media for privacy at this difficult time.”
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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/11/russia-ukraine-war-pinners-family-respond-to-death-penalty-sentence-16810659/ Russia-Ukraine War: Pinner's Family Responds To Death Penalty