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War in Ukraine: Five foreigners on trial for “mercenary action” by Donetsk separatists

Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine today began the trial of three Britons, a Croat and a Swede accused of fighting the Ukrainian army, a charge that could carry the death penalty.

The “Supreme Court” of the separatist Donetsk region has started the trial of John Harding, Andrew Hill, Dylan Healy from the United Kingdom, as well as the Croat Vjekoslav Preberg and the Swede Matias Gustafsson, Russian media reported.

Harding, Preberg and Gustafsson, who were captured in the area of ​​the Ukrainian port of Mariupol, which has been besieged and bombarded for weeks by the Russian military, face the death penalty, according to a judge, according to the TASS news agency.

According to Ria-Novosti, the three men who are at risk of execution are being prosecuted for attempting to “seize power by force” and for “participating in armed conflict as mercenaries”.

Briton Andrew Hill is charged only with mercenary activity, while Dylan Healy is being prosecuted for “participating in the recruitment of mercenaries” for Ukraine, according to Ria-Novosti.

The court announced that the trial of the five defendants would not be repeated before the beginning of October, without giving an explanation for the reasons for this delay. All have pleaded not guilty, according to Russian media.

By early June, two British fighters and a Moroccan had already been sentenced to death by Donetsk separatists. The three men appealed the decision.

A moratorium on the imposition of the death penalty has been in place in Russia since 1997, but this has not been the case in the two separatist territories of eastern Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 24 ordered his army to invade Ukraine, whose forces have been resisting since then, in Europe’s most violent conflict since World War II.

Source: News Beast

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