Britons captured by Russia ‘face 20 years in jail' after appearance

Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner appeared in court after being captured while fighting for Ukraine

Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, and Moroccan Brahim Saadoun, in a courtroom cage in Donetsk, Ukraine, in an image released on June 7. Supreme Court of Donetsk People's Republic / Reuters
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A video shared by Russian state media reveals that two Britons captured by Russian troops face 20 years behind bars.

Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner appeared in court in the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic after being captured while fighting for Ukraine.

Mr Aslin, 28, and Mr Pinner, 48, are said to have admitted to “training in order to carry out terrorist activities”.

In footage shared by Russian news agency Ria Novosti on social media on Wednesday, a translator can be heard asking Mr Aslin if he would “plead guilty” to an offence, to which he replied: “Yes.”

The charge carries a term of 15 to 20 years’ imprisonment with restriction of freedom for one to two years, or life imprisonment, Ria Novosti said.

The video appeared to show the two Britons in the dock in the pro-Russian territory’s supreme court alongside a third man, reported to be Moroccan national Brahim Saadoun.

Mr Pinner is also said to face a longer term and even the death penalty after allegedly admitting to “seizing power by force”.

Hours earlier, British Conservative former minister Robert Jenrick said Mr Aslin should be returned home at the earliest opportunity, possibly through a prisoner exchange.

Mr Jenrick condemned the “trumped-up charges” faced by both Britons and accused Russia of a “completely outrageous breach of international law”.

“This is a British citizen, but who also holds Ukrainian nationality, is married to a Ukrainian, joined the Ukrainian armed forces in the normal way prior to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s illegal invasion, and has been serving in the armed forces," he told BBC Radio 4.

“He was taken prisoner by Russian forces and, in accordance with international law and the Geneva Convention, he should be being held appropriately and returned to Ukraine at the earliest possible opportunity, possibly through a prisoner exchange.

“Instead of that. Putin’s regime have chosen to put him and another British national, Shaun Pinner, on trial on trumped-up charges, no evidence whatsoever.

"This is, I’m afraid, a completely outrageous breach of international law and it should be condemned.

“What I hope happens is that a prisoner exchange occurs in the near future. The Russian authorities have chosen to make an example out of these two British nationals and it is, I think, completely shameful."

On Monday, UK Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said the Foreign Office would “make all the representations” on Mr Aslin’s behalf, and his family have also issued an emotional statement calling for his release.

“We, the family of Aiden Aslin, wish to ask for privacy at this time from the media," they said.

“This is a very sensitive and emotional time for our family, and we would like to say thank you to all who 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.”

Updated: June 08, 2022, 10:53 PM
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