“First of all, our whole family is devastated and saddened by the outcome of the illegal show trial of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic,” Shaun Pinner’s family said in a statement released by the UK Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Saturday. Foreign Affairs.
“As a resident of Ukraine for over 4 years and under contract to Navy service in the 36th Brigade, of which he is very proud, Shaun should be granted all the rights of a prisoner of war in accordance with the Geneva Convention and including full independent legal representation,” the statement read.
“We sincerely hope that all parties will urgently cooperate to ensure the safe release or exchange of Shaun. Our family, including his son and his Ukrainian wife, love and miss him so much and our hearts go out to all the families involved in this horrible situation,” the family also added.
Pinner was sentenced to death on Thursday alongside his compatriot Aiden Aslin and Moroccan national Brahim Saadoune, accused of being “mercenaries” for Ukraine, according to Russian media RIA Novosti.
DPR authorities said the three men were foreign fighters who were apprehended by Russian forces in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol in April. RIA Novosti said Pinner, Aslin and Saadoune would be shot.
Russia is the only country that recognizes the DPR as independent. The world community does not recognize the region and its institutions and considers the region to be part of Ukraine. Independent watchdog groups have historically condemned separatists for their blatant human rights record and prisoner mistreatment.
RIA Novosti quoted Donetsk’s “head of the judicial council” as saying convicted men “can appeal against the decision within a month”.
Pavel Kosovan, one of the defendants’ lawyers, said his clients would appeal the verdict, Russian state media TASS reported after the death sentence was handed down.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is “appalled” by Britain’s death sentences, his spokesman said on Friday.
Johnson “has been following the case closely and has asked ministers to do everything in their power to try to reunite them with their families as soon as possible,” his spokesman added.
Earlier this week, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss also criticized the DPR judgment and said it had “absolutely no legitimacy”.
“I totally condemn the sentencing of Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner held by Russian proxies in eastern Ukraine. They are prisoners of war. This is a fictitious judgment without any legitimacy. My thoughts are with the families We continue to do everything we can to support them,” she said in a statement Thursday from her verified Twitter account.
CNN’s Ivana Kottasová, Oleksandra Ochman, Jonny Hallam, Uliana Pavlova and Anna Chernova contributed reporting.
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