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Russian separatist court sentences 3 foreigners fighting with Ukraine to death

Russian separatist court sentences 3 foreigners fighting with Ukraine to death
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited the frontline positions of the Ukrainian military during a working trip to the Kharkiv region on May 29. A Russian-led court in the Donbas region sentenced three foreign fighters supporting Ukraine to death. Photo by Ukrainian Presidential Press Office/UPI | License Photo

June 9 (UPI) -- Three captured foreign soldiers fighting for Ukraine were sentenced to death by a court operated by the unrecognized Donetsk People's Republic, which lies in Ukraine's Donbas region.

The court, run by Russian-supported separatists, sentenced Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner of Britain and Saadun Brahim of Morocco after charging them with working as foreign mercenaries.

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Aslin and Pinner had been fighting alongside Ukrainian soldiers in Mariupol, where Ukrainian forces prevented Russia from completely taking the city for months before surrendering.

Observers called their court hearings a "show trial" and said the men faced "trumped-up charges" meant to copy war crime trials Ukrainian judicial officials have held against Russian soldiers in Kyiv.

Aslin and Pinner said in their hearing that they were serving as part of the Ukrainian marines, which should have made them active-duty servicemembers of Ukraine, giving them protection under the Geneva Conventions guiding the treatment of war prisoners.

Aslin's family went public about him being detained in April after seeing his images appear in media reports after Russian troops captured him. Aslin's grandmother Pamela Hall said she recognized him from his tattoos and asked that he be treated humanely.

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Former U.S. Marine and corrections officer Willy Joseph Cancel is the only known U.S. resident killed in battle during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, working as a private contractor.

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