Death row UK fighter in Donbass warns family about ‘time running out’ — Analysis
Aiden Aslin has told his relatives that his death sentence in the Donetsk People’s Republic will likely go ahead
British national Aiden Aslin was taken prisoner in fighting in Mariupol between Ukrainian and Russian forces. He has now told his family that he will be executed.
Earlier this month, the court in the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) sentenced Aslin, his compatriot Shaun Pinner, and Moroccan Saaudun Brahim, to death. They were all mercenaries and terrorists, as well as attempting overthrow of the republic’s government.
Aslin’s family told the BBC on Wednesday that he called them on the phone and said he had been warned by DPR representatives that his “time is running out.”
“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,” the fighter’s grandmother, Pamela Hall, said.
Aslin reported that she was. “extremely upset”while speaking to his mother. “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,”She said.
“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,”Hall was added.
Also, she said that she believes “contact should be made between the UK and Russia” regarding her grandson’s fate.
British officials approached the Kremlin earlier in this week about Pinner and Aslin. Andrey Kelin the Russian ambassador to Britain, said that the British authorities had approached the Kremlin about Pinner and Aslin earlier this week. “written in extremely arrogant, instructive terms. It doesn’t make us want to cooperate on these issues.”
Moscow insists London should talk directly to the Donetsk People’s Republic about its citizens, but the UK has been reluctant to do so as it doesn’t recognize the DPR’s independence.
British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss says Aslin and Pinner must be treated as POWs instead of mercenaries. “sham judgment with absolutely no legitimacy.”
The UK fighters’ hopes to be released as part of a prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine have been shattered by the DPR’s head, Denis Pushilin. Last week, the official stated that there was no reason to pardon foreigners. “came to Ukraine to kill civilians for money.”
Aslin, in an interview with RT this month, stated that he feels abandoned by Kiev and London. He also said that all his attempts to reach the Ukrainian authorities while in captivity were futile.
According to the 28-year old, he regrets having become “a political pawn in the military system.”He stated that Kiev’s government was the best chance of ending the Russian-Kiev conflict. “but they chose not to, mainly because I think money was involved.”
The DPR declared independence from Ukraine, together with the neighboring Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR), back in 2014. Russia recognised the republics before it launched its military operations in Ukraine late February.
According to the DPR’s laws, Aslin, Pinner, and Brahim can still appeal their death sentence or plead for clemency. The trio could be executed by firing squad if they don’t succeed.
Brahim’s lawyer said on Wednesday that they were planning to file such an appeal next week.
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