Captured British fighters Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner face death penalty in Russian-backed court

The two men, who appeared in court in the Donetsk People’s Republic, are accused of fighting as mercenaries for Ukraine

By Nataliya Vasilyeva, Russia Correspondent

Two British men captured by Russian forces in Ukraine went on trial on Tuesday in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine on charges carrying the death penalty.

Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48 were seen in the defendants’ dock in their first public appearance in almost two months, after they were captured by the Russian army serving alongside Ukrainian marines in Mariupol.

The men are now accused of fighting as mercenaries, despite the fact that both live in Ukraine and have officially served in its armed forces for several years.

Separatist authorities in Donetsk, a city in eastern Ukraine under Russian control, said that the two Britons – along with a student from Morocco – could face the death penalty if convicted.

Mr Aslin, from Newark in Nottinghamshire, was last seen on Russian state TV during an interrogation where he looked battered and appeared to slur his words. He had bruises and a cut on his forehead.

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