European court tells Russia to ensure two Britons do not face death penalty

Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner were sentenced to death by a Russian court

<p>Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner were sentenced to death by a Russian court </p>

Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner were sentenced to death by a Russian court

Russia has been ordered by an international court to prevent the death penalty being carried out on two Britons captured after fighting for Ukraine.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said on Thursday it had issued interim measures to instruct Moscow to ensure a stay of execution for Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, who are currently detained in the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

Mr Aslin, 28, and Mr Pinner, 48, were found guilty of taking action towards violent seizure of power at a court in the DPR earlier this month.

A third man, Moroccan national Saaudun Brahim, was convicted alongside them. The ECHR intervened in the case of Mr Brahim on 16 June also to ensure the death penalty is not carried out.

ECHR requested that the Russian government provide information, in two weeks, to show what actions and measures have been taken by their authorities regarding the two Britons.

Two British citizens Aiden Aslin, left, and Shaun Pinner, right, and Moroccan Saaudun Brahim, center, sit behind bars in a courtroom in Donetsk

The men were accused of being “mercenaries” after fighting with Ukrainian troops, a charge that carries the death penalty in the unrecognised territory.

Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said their sentences would set a “clear example to other soldiers of fortune fighting for Ukraine.”

Mr Aslin, originally from Nottinghamshire, and Mr Pinner, from Watford, are both residents of Ukraine and had been serving in the country’s armed forces for several years prior to the Russian invasion, according to their families and lawyers.

Friends said Mr Brahim, a 21-year-old originally from Casablanca, was an aerospace technology student at a university in Kyiv who joined the Ukranian military last summer when he told them he wanted to “die as a hero”.

British citizen Aiden Aslin

The UK has described the proceedings as “a sham”. Foreign secretary Liz Truss said on Tuesday that the best route to secure the men's release was ”through the Ukrainians”, but added that she would do “whatever it takes”.

The British men's families deny that the two, who were contracted to the Ukrainian armed forces, were mercenaries.

Britain has so far declined publicly to raise the issue with authorities in the DPR, whose independence is recognised only by Russia, instead saying it hoped Kyiv could secure the men's release.

Mr Aslin‘s family previously said in the statement: “We, the family of Aiden Aslin, wish to ask for privacy at this time from the media.

“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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