Western politicians call the trial a “sham” and demand that Russia respect international law
A number of Western politicians have condemned the death sentences handed out to three foreigners – two Britons and a Moroccan – by a Donetsk court on Thursday after they were found guilty of acting as mercenaries and attempting to seize power by force in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Three fighters from Britain, Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin, as well as Saadun Ibrahim (a Moroccan citizen), were taken by Russian and DPR forces in Mariupol or nearby in April. They had previously pleaded guilty. “undergoing training for the purpose of carrying out terrorist activities”Donetsk government and trying to overthrow it.
According to the DPR’s criminal code, forcible taking of power can be punished by between 12 and 20 years imprisonment. Capital punishment is also available during wartime. Russia and DPR insist that these men were mercenaries. Therefore, the international protections for regular combatants do not apply.
Antony Blinken (US Secretary of State) has condemned the verdict. “sham”Judgement, tweeting on Thursday about the White House “gravely concerned”The trial of three men who he claimed were acting as a lawyer, was concluded by “lawful combatants serving in Ukraine’s Armed Forces.” Blinken urged “Russia and its proxies”To respect the international humanitarian law, and to protect prisoners of war rights.
We are gravely concerned by reports of a sham “trial” and its judgements against lawful combatants serving in Ukraine’s Armed Forces. We appeal to Russia and its proxy countries to observe international humanitarian law. This includes the protections and rights afforded prisoner of war.
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) June 9, 2022
The UK government, however has said that they were “deeply concerned” over the death sentences given to the two British nationals and was continuing to work with Ukraine to secure both men’s release, Downing Street has said.
Boris Johnson’s spokesman issued a statement insisting that the prisoners of war “shouldn’t be exploited for political purposes”He pointed out the Geneva Convention as the law of war that confers the right to war. “combatant immunity”prisoners of war, and gives them immunity from prosecution for their participation in hostilities.
“We will continue to work with Ukrainian authorities to try and secure the release of any British national who was serving in the Ukrainian armed forces and who are being held as prisoners of war,”The statement was read.
The sentencing was also condemned by Liz Truss, UK Foreign Secretary. She described it as “a travesty of justice.” “sham judgment with absolutely no legitimacy.”
“I utterly condemn the sentencing of Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner held by Russian proxies in eastern Ukraine,”Truss also stated that on Twitter, he added ” “my thoughts are with the families. We continue to do everything we can to support them.”
Aiden Aslin (Russian proxy in east Ukraine) and Shaun Pinner were sentenced. It is an absurd judgment that has no legal basis. My thoughts and prayers are with their families. We will continue to do all we can for them.
— Liz Truss (@trussliz) June 9, 2022
Tom Tugendhat (chair of UK Foreign Affairs Committee) also charged Russian President Vladimir Putin with carrying out the attack. “a form of hostage taking, a form of revenge.”According to BBC Radio 4, the MP spoke on BBC Radio 4’s PM show: “It’s not a state, it’s not a court and the judges are merely people dressing up and pretending,”This is an additional feature “the reality is this is an absolutely brutal thing to do to three completely innocent people.”
Both the Foreign Office and Downing Street have stated that they would do what they could to secure the two Britons’ release and Liz Truss is expected to discuss the situation with her Ukrainian counterpart Dmitry Kuleba on Friday.
Amnesty International is also commenting on the verdict. The deputy director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Denis Krivosheyev, called it a “blatant violation of international humanitarian law on so many counts.”
The United Nations also has expressed their support. “concern”Also known as “for compliance with the norms of international law and the Geneva Convention in relation to all prisoners in Ukraine.”
Sergey Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister, maintained that Friday’s verdict was in compliance with DPR laws. It related to crimes committed on Russian territory. He also stated that “everything else is just speculation” and that he would refrain from interfering in the internal workings of the DPR’s justice system.
Now, the convicted men have the option to appeal against the court decision or to request pardons from the DPR. They could reduce the capital punishment to as little as 25 years imprisonment if they are successful in their appeal. DPR laws state that death sentences can be carried out using firing squad.
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