Three foreign men have been sentenced to death by pro-Moscow rebels in eastern Ukraine who say the men fought for Ukrainian forces.
The two British citizens and a Moroccan were found guilty by a court that is not internationally recognized in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic of fighting for Ukraine and of being mercenaries and therefore not covered by traditional prisoner of war protections.
Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti, identified the three as Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner and Saaudun Brahim.
Pinner and Aslin surrendered to pro-Russian forces in the southern port of Mariupol in mid-April, while Brahim did so in mid-March in the eastern city of Volnovakha.
The three have a month to appeal the verdict or face a firing squad.
Two of the three are claiming to have lived in Ukraine since 2018 and should be considered “long-serving” members of the Ukrainian military.
Pro-Russian forces also hold Andrew Hill, a British fighter accused of helping Ukrainian forces, who is awaiting trial.
The UK Foreign Office condemned the sentences.
“We condemn the exploitation of prisoners of war for political purposes,” a spokesperson said. “They are entitled to combatant immunity and should not be prosecuted for participation in hostilities.”
Some information in this report comes from The Associated Press.