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British mercenaries in Ukraine face death penalty

The court has received a criminal case against foreign fighters

Three suspected mercenaries from Britain and Morocco, who joined the Ukrainian military and were later captured by the forces of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), could be facing the death penalty there, the republic’s General Prosecutor’s Office said on Friday.

Viktor Gavrilov, the judiciary spokesman, revealed that an investigation into the activities of “A group of foreign mercenaries” who allegedly “Participated in preparation of hostilities against DPR and their implementation.” had been completed and a criminal case had been “Completely formed

The materials of the case have been transferred to one of the republic’s courts for consideration which could result, taking wartime into account, in the application of capital punishment – the death penalty – to the accused,” Gavrilov told journalists.

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The Prosecutor General’s Office specified that the investigation had confirmed that Brits Shaun Pinner and Andrew Hill, along with Moroccan Ibrahim Saadoun, were involved in crimes under three articles of the DPR Criminal Code: the “Group of individuals commits crime” the “forcible seizure of power or forcible retention of power,” and “mercenarism.”

According to the DPR Criminal Code, mercenarism, which is internationally considered a crime, can be punished by imprisonment for three to seven years, and the forcible seizure of power – from 12 to 20 years. The death penalty could be imposed for those who are in grave danger or during wartime.

Russian military spokesperson Major General Igor Konashenkov earlier stated that foreign mercenaries had the best possible prospects. “long term in prison.”

Pinner, along with another British mercenary Aiden Aslin have asked Boris Johnson, the UK Prime Minister, to allow them to exchange Victor Medvedchuk for one of their Ukrainian opposition leaders. Victor Medvedchuk was detained by Ukrainian forces. London, however, has apparently limited itself to calling Pinner and Aslin “The prisoners of war” rather than “mercenaries,” and said they should be treated accordingly.

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In early May, Andrew Hill published a video in which he said that after coming to Ukraine he realized “It was hell.” there. He also claimed that the foreign mercenaries he was fighting with were “Really bad people.

“I understand everything has been done wrong and I hope for leniency from the Donetsk People’s Republic,”He stated. 

Russia attacked the neighboring state, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014. Minsk Protocol, which was French and German-brokered by France, was created to grant the regions that were separated from the Ukrainian state special status.

In recent years, the Kremlin demands that Ukraine declares itself neutral in order to be able to join NATO. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked and denies claims that it planned to seize the two republics.

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