Student, social worker: who were the mercenaries sentenced to death in the DPR

Sean Pinner served in the Royal Anglian Regiment, Aiden Aslin looked after the elderly

A court in the DPR sentenced to death three foreigners who fought on the side of the Ukrainian forces – British subjects Sean Pinner and Aiden Aslin, as well as the Moroccan Saadoun Brahim. We recalled the biographies of all the defendants.

They were found guilty of mercenarism, forcible seizure of power, and the commission of a crime by a group of people. The defense promised to appeal the verdict to the DPR Supreme Court.

Photo: AP

The most famous mercenary convicted in the DPR is 48-year-old Briton Sean Pinner. He was captured in Mariupol in April.

Sean Pinner, originally from Bedfordshire, moved to Ukraine four years ago and lived with his wife in the Donbass, according to the British press.

After he was taken prisoner, he was shown on television. He said at the time: “I'm Sean Pinner. I am a citizen of the United Kingdom. I was taken prisoner in Mariupol, I am in the 36th brigade of the 1st battalion of the Ukrainian marines. I fought in Mariupol for five or six weeks, and now I am in the Donetsk People's Republic.” In captivity, Pinner stated that he “wants to go home.”

Pinner was taken prisoner after the same fate befell another British citizen, 28-year-old former medical worker Aiden Aslin, who also fought on the side of the Ukrainian formations in the same trenches near Mariupol as Pinner.

Sean Pinner, who previously served in the Royal English Regiment, gained fame even before the start of the military special operation in Ukraine. The media wrote about him, talking about those Britons who joined the Ukrainian military.

Back in January, it was reported that he was in the trenches 16 km from Mariupol. Then Pinner told the British press that he was there, “protecting his family and the city that adopted him.” According to him, the battles in the trenches were “like hell” when the enemy snipers (then it was the formations of the DPR) were in frightening proximity. Even then, before the start of the Russian special operation, he spoke about his fear of being captured: “I am afraid for my life. The Russians will treat us differently if we are captured because we are British. I always think about getting caught.”

About a week after the start of the Russian special operation in Ukraine, Pinner went online with a scathing report from the battlefield, describing the ensuing situation as “chaos”, writes the Daily Mail. He claimed to have survived “a week of intense fighting”.

After the capture of Pinner, the British Foreign Office contacted his family to support the family of the prisoner. But it has been stated that the UK's ability to provide consular assistance or obtain information about British citizens in Ukraine is extremely limited due to the conflict.

The second British citizen, Aiden Aslin, is twenty years younger than Pinner. He, too, is famous in his homeland, and not only because of the events in Ukraine. This native of Nottinghamshire joined the Ukrainian marines a few years ago. He was taken prisoner during the battles for Mariupol.

In the past, he was a social worker caring for infirm people, but he managed to accumulate experience in being in “hot spots”. In 2015-2017, he participated in the conflict in Syria on the side of the Kurdish formations against ISIS (a terrorist organization banned in the Russian Federation). According to the press, he was associated with the Lions of Rojava unit of the YPG group (People's Self-Defense Units) in Syrian Kurdistan.

On his return from the Middle East to Britain, the young man was detained under British terrorism law immediately after arriving at Heathrow Airport. True, after interrogation at Nottinghamshire Police Headquarters, Aslin was released on bail on suspicion of terrorism. He is believed to be the first foreigner who fought on the side of the Syrian Kurds, against whom the British police investigated such a case.

Aslin's story received public outcry at the time, with politicians standing up for him criticizing his treatment by the Nottinghamshire Police. After the acquittal, Aiden was again drawn to the Middle East – and upon arrival in Britain, he was again interrogated by the police (already in Manchester).

But in 2018, the Briton, who fell in love with a resident of Nikolaev, moved to Ukraine. Around the same time, he went to serve in the Ukrainian Armed Forces. He even posted his photo on the social network during the reading of the oath of allegiance to Ukraine.

By the time the Russian special operation began, Aslin was in the Donbas region. The Briton participated in the battles for Mariupol as part of the Ukrainian 39th Marine Brigade. During the fighting, he posted several videos on social media urging Western politicians to do more to help Mariupol.

The British press wrote that Aslin planned to marry this spring and end his service in September. But the surrender of these plans greatly adjusted. His fiancee was reported to have left Ukraine for Hungary.

The youngest of the foreign fighters sentenced is 21-year-old Moroccan Saadoun Brahim (also known as Ibrahim Sadun). According to Morocco World News, he was captured in April. And before that, a young native of the North African kingdom studied at the Faculty of Aerodynamic and Space Technologies of the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. The Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not yet issued any communiqué regarding the arrest of the Moroccan.


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