"Lazy circus called process": Soldiers' families outraged by the death sentence

The two British Mariupol militants sentenced to death are being treated like foreign mercenaries by the Donetsk separatists.

"Lazy circus called process": Soldiers' families outraged by the death sentence

The two British Mariupol militants sentenced to death are being treated like foreign mercenaries by the Donetsk separatists. In fact, they are rooted in Ukraine. Their families are shocked by the cynicism of the Russian show trial.

The family of a Briton sentenced to death by pro-Russian separatists have expressed shock at the verdict in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic. The British Foreign Office said on behalf of the relatives that the entire family of the 48-year-old was "devastated and saddened by the outcome of the illegal show trial by the so-called Donetsk People's Republic".

As a Ukrainian resident and a contract marine, he should be granted all the rights of a prisoner of war under the Geneva Convention, the PA news agency said in the statement. This also includes fully independent legal representation.

Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner were convicted on Thursday by the Supreme Court of the separatist Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) alongside Brahim Saadoun, a Moroccan, after a "show trial" on terrorism charges. They were arrested in Mariupol in April. The 28-year-old Aslin is a former carer from Newark, has lived in Ukraine since 2018, his fiancé is Ukrainian, according to British media reports he himself has British and Ukrainian citizenship. Pinner, 48, a former British soldier from Bedfordshire, moved to Ukraine four years ago and has a Ukrainian wife.

Foreign Office officials in London stressed, according to The Times, that Ukraine must take the lead in negotiations to secure the men's release because they were members of the Ukrainian army. There are fears in London that if their case were made a bone of contention between Britain and Russia, it would help Moscow to claim that the men are "mercenaries" who are not entitled to protection under international law.

On Facebook, Pinner's Ukrainian wife, Larysa, expressed her frustration at the "absurdity and cynicism of this rotten and false event called 'trial'". "We all also understand that Russian propaganda is taking full advantage of this case, and this circus will go on for a long time," she wrote.

Diana Okovyta, Aslin's fiancee, has meanwhile traveled to London. On Saturday night she posted on social media: "I wish you knew that you are not forgotten, you are not alone, you are not abandoned and will not be abandoned. I hope that deep in your soul you still do know and feel." Addressing her fiancé, she wrote: "I think that soon we will see pictures of you smiling in the newspapers."

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