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European court intervenes over fighter sentenced to death alongside British pair

Mr Saadoune

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has intervened in the case of a Moroccan man sentenced to death alongside two Britons for allegedly fighting Russian forces.

The Strasbourg-based court will indicate to the Russian government that it should ensure the death penalty imposed on Brahim Saadoune is not carried out.

Mr Saadoune was sentenced to death on the same day as Shaun Pinner, 48, from Bedfordshire, and Aiden Aslin, 28, originally from Newark in Nottinghamshire.

It is not known whether Mr Pinner and Mr Aslin have made requests to the ECtHR.

The men were convicted of taking action towards violent seizure of power, at a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

Britain argues that Mr Aslin and Mr Pinner are legitimate members of the Ukrainian army and should be treated as prisoners of war.

The three men were accused of being mercenaries after fighting with Ukrainian troops.

Interfax, a Russian news agency, claimed they would be able to appeal against their convictions.

Mr Aslin and Mr Pinner were members of regular Ukrainian military units fighting in Mariupol, the southern port city which was the scene of some of the heaviest fighting since Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The ECtHR said Mr Saadoune is a Moroccan citizen who was born in 2000 and moved to Ukraine in 2019 to study in Kyiv.

It added that in November 2021 he left Kyiv to undergo military training and was subsequently deployed to join the 36th detached marine brigade of the armed forces of Ukraine in Mariupol.

The ECtHR said he was sentenced to death by a “DPR court” on June 9, adding that two British nationals were also sentenced to death on the same day.

On June 14, Mr Saadoune’s representative made a request to the European court under Rule 39 to ensure his convention rights.

The court has requested the Russian government provide information in two weeks to show what actions and measures have been taken to ensure respect for the convention rights of Mr Saadoune.

After its exclusion from the Council of Europe on March 16, the Russian Federation remains bound by the European Convention on Human Rights with regard to acts or omissions taking place up until September 16, according to a spokesman for the Council of Europe.

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