UN “Concerned” Over Death Sentences to Three Foreign Fighters in Ukraine

The United Nations (UN) expressed concern about the three foreigners sentenced to death in Donetsk.

UN Human Rights spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told reporters during a press briefing in Geneva Friday that since 2015 the UN has observed that “the so-called ‘judiciary’ in self-proclaimed ‘republics’ has not complied with essential fair trial guarantees, such as public hearing, independence, and impartiality of the court and the right not to be compelled to testify.”

“Such trials against prisoners of war amount to a war crime. In the case of the use of the death penalty, fair trial guarantees are all the more important,” Shamdasani said. 

Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner, and Saaudun Brahim were charged with mercenary activity and sentenced to death on June 9. 

The two British males, Aslin and Pinner, had been living in Ukraine for four years and were serving in the Ukrainian military. 

When they were seized in April while defending the beleaguered city of Mariupol, they both surrendered. 

Saaudun was apprehended in Volnovakha, a city in eastern Ukraine. 

Saaudun and Aslin are both citizens of Ukraine.

Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko, in a commentary to Ukrinform, said all foreigners fighting on the Ukrainian territory as part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine are servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

“All servicemen of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who are taken prisoner by the enemy, enjoy the rights of the prisoners of war. It is prohibited for the enemy to abuse, intimidate or treat them inhumanly,” Nikolenko said.

According to Nikolenko, such trials prioritize propaganda over law and morals, undermining the processes for returning veterans home.

Nikolenko emphasized that the Ukrainian government will continue to make efforts “to release all defenders of Ukraine”.

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