British citizens Aiden Aslin (left) and Shaun Pinner (right) and Moroccan Saaudun Brahim sit behind bars in a courtroom in Donetsk on June 9.
The father of a Moroccan man sentenced to death by a Kremlin-backed separatist court in Ukraine's eastern region of Donetsk on charges of being a mercenary says his son is also a Ukrainian citizen and should be treated accordingly.
Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner, along with Moroccan Saaudun Brahim, were sentenced to death on June 9 for "mercenary activities."
All three say they were serving in the Ukrainian military when they were captured by separatists while fighting against Russian forces.
Brahim received Ukrainian citizenship in 2020 after undergoing a year of military training as a requirement to study aerospace technology at a university in Kyiv, his father, Tahar Saaudun, said in an e-mail to Reuters.
He surrendered "voluntarily" and should be treated as a "prisoner of war," the father said, adding the sentence handed down will be appealed.
"We as a family suffer from the absence of contact with the lawyer to exchange legal information and this adds to our ordeal," he said.
Britain has condemned the sentencing of its citizens as an "egregious breach" of the Geneva Conventions, under which prisoners of war are entitled to combatant immunity and should not be prosecuted for participating in hostilities.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said on June 11 she believed the separatist authorities would ultimately act rationally, "for they are well aware of the irreparable implications for them and for the Russians if they take any wrong steps against these three of our soldiers."