War in Ukraine: European Court tells Russia that two Britons will not receive the death penalty

The European Court of Human Rights said on Thursday it had issued interim measures instructing Russia to ensure that the death penalty on two Britons detained after fighting for Ukraine was not carried out.

In particular, the Court has indicated to the Government of the Russian Federation, under Article 39 (Interim Measures) of the Court’s Rules of Procedure, that they must ensure that the death penalty imposed on the applicants is not carried out, the court said. court in a statement. pronunciation.

Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, were found guilty earlier this month of taking measures against violent seizure of power at a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

In addition to them, a third man, the Moroccan national Saaudun Brahim, was convicted.

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

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Maria Zakharova said their sentences would set a “clear example for other fortunate soldiers fighting for Ukraine”.

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

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

The UK has described the proceedings as “a sham”. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said on Tuesday the best way to secure the release of the men was “through the Ukrainians”, but added 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 publicly refused to raise the issue with authorities in the DPR, whose independence is recognized only by Russia, instead saying it hoped Kiev could secure the release of the men.

More to come…