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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Will Stewart

Brits facing firing squad by sham Russian court set to appeal death sentence

British fighters facing the death penalty after being captured by pro- Russian forces are planning to appeal, a lawyer has said.

Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, face being shot by a firing squad after being convicted in a “show trial” of alleged war crimes by a pro-Russian proxy court.

Yulia Tserkovnikova, who has been appointed by the Donetsk People’s Republic court to represent Shaun, said: "My colleagues and I are working on the text of the appeal in the interests of our clients.

“If the appeal is rejected and the verdict comes into force, a request for pardon will be filed because it is the inalienable right of our clients based on the laws of the Donetsk People’s Republic.

“It must not be violated and they strongly insist on using it.”

Official Denis Pushilin, who would hear a pardon plea, has already said he sees no grounds to grant it.

It is unclear why it has taken two weeks to announce an appeal, though the hopes of any change in the verdict are seen as all but non-existent.

An appeal hearing is expected in around a fortnight.

Earlier this month, Aiden, from Nottinghamshire, and Shaun, from Bedfordshire, were sentenced to death alongside Moroccan Sadun Brahim, 21, after the trio surrendered alongside Ukrainian forces to pro-Putin fighters in Mariupol.

He was captured while fighting in Mariupol (facebook/ EAST2WEST NEWS)

Another British detainee Andrew Hill, 35, from Plymouth, has also been warned to expect the death penalty when his verdict is separately handed down.

Ms Tserkovnikova said that Pinner had been crushed by the death sentence verdict.

She said: "He changed just before our eyes. He instantly became 20 years older.

“All three of them understood that punishment awaited them.

“They understood that punishment was inevitable for the crimes they had committed, but it seems to me that they did not expect capital punishment.

“Of course, it was a shock for them.”

Ms Tserkovnikova also criticised the British government for not doing more to seek clemency or their release, possibly as part of a swap.

She said: "If the British authorities have such an intention [to change the verdict], I know only from the media.

Shaun has also been sentenced to death after he was captured in Mariupol (social media/e2w)

“This seems a very bad position for British representatives to publicly put on a show in the media and talk about protecting the rights of their citizens.

“No-one prevents the British authorities from going out directly and applying to the state authorities of the DPR, in some way at least inquire about the fate of their subject officially, and not make loud statements in the air in the media.”

Russian Ambassador to London, Andrey Kelin, has said that Moscow received a note from the UK government but that it was “arrogant”.

He told SolovyovLive: “The [British] note is composed in... I would not say in a diplomatic way.

“Not as an invitation to dialogue. It is composed quite arrogantly. It is mentioned many times that we ‘must’ [respond in a certain way].

“I can say that [with] the Americans….there was an invitation to dialogue.

British citizens Aiden and Shaun, and Moroccan Saaudun Brahim (middle) (STRINGER/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

“Here [with the British] we do not see any invitation. We will react accordingly.”

Aiden's family have told the BBC of their anguish over the news.

Grandmother Pamela Hall said: “There are no words, just no words, it’s got to be everyone’s worst nightmare to have a member of your family threatened in this way.

“Aiden was extremely upset when he called his mother this morning.

“The bottom line is Aiden has said the DPR has told him nobody from the UK has made contact, and that he will be executed.

“I have to believe what Aiden has said to us, that if the DPR don’t get some response then they will execute him. Obviously, I hope that isn’t true.”

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