British fighters captured in Ukraine ‘face 20 years in jail after appearing in pro-Russian court’

Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner were detained in April


Two Britons captured by Russian forces face 20 years behind bars, according to a video shared by Russian state media.

Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner were detained in April while fighting in Ukraine, before reportedly appearing in court in the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).

Twenty-eight-year-old Mr Aslin and 48-year-old Mr Pinner are said to have admitted “training in order to carry out terrorist activities”.

In footage shared by Ria Novosti on social media on Wednesday, a translator can be heard asking Mr Aslin if he would “plead guilty” to an offence, to which he replied: “Yes.”

Aiden Aslin
Aiden Aslin

The charge carries a term of 15 to 20 years’ imprisonment with restriction of freedom for a term of one to two years or life imprisonment, according to Ria Novosti.

The video appeared to show the two Britons in the dock in the pro-Russian territory’s supreme court alongside a third man, reported to be Saaudun Brahim, a Moroccan national.

Mr Pinner is also said to face a longer term and even the death penalty after allegedly admitting to “seizing power by force”.

It comes hours after Tory former minister Robert Jenrick said Mr Aslin should be returned home at the earliest opportunity, possibly through a prisoner exchange.

The MP condemned the “trumped-up charges” faced by both Britons and accused Russia of a “completely outrageous breach of international law”.

A still image taken from Russian state TV footage that it said shows Aiden Aslin
A still image taken from Russian state TV footage that it said shows Aiden Aslin

Mr Jenrick told BBC Radio 4’s World At One programme: “This is a British citizen, but who also holds Ukrainian nationality, is married to a Ukrainian, joined the Ukrainian armed forces in the normal way prior to (Vladimir) Putin’s illegal invasion, and has been serving in the armed forces.

“He was taken prisoner by Russian forces and in accordance with international law and the Geneva Convention, he should be being held appropriately and returned to Ukraine at the earliest possible opportunity, possibly through a prisoner exchange.

“Instead of that Putin’s regime have chosen to put him and another British national, Shaun Pinner, on trial on trumped up charges, no evidence whatsoever. This is, I’m afraid, a completely outrageous breach of international law and it should be condemned.”

He added: “What I hope happens is that a prisoner exchange occurs in the near future. The Russian authorities have chosen to make an example out of these two British nationals and it is, I think, completely shameful.”

On Monday, Dominic Raab said the Foreign Office will “make all the representations” on Mr Aslin’s behalf and his family have also issued an emotional statement calling for his release.

They said: “We, the family of Aiden Aslin, wish to ask for privacy at this time from the media.

“This is a very sensitive and emotional time for our family, and we would like to say thank you to all that have supported us.

“We are currently working with the Ukrainian government and the Foreign Office to try and bring Aiden home. Aiden is a much-loved man and very much missed, and we hope that he will be released very soon.”