European Court of Human Rights tells Russia to halt execution of captured Moroccan fighter in Ukraine

The European Court of Human Rights ordered Russia to stop the execution of Brahim Saadoun, a Moroccan national who was captured in April and was handed a death sentence last week in a court in the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic.

Saadoun, 21, and two British citizens, Aiden Aslin, 28, and Shaun Pinner, 48, were accused of working as foreign mercenaries. All three had officially enlisted in the Ukrainian armed forces.

The European court made the intervention after a representative for Saadoun filed a petition. The court ordered Moscow to “ensure appropriate conditions of his detention and provide him with any necessary medical assistance and medication.”

The Kremlin has previously stated that the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic is a sovereign country and, consequently, Moscow has no control over the separatist republic’s courts. Most observers hold such claims to be farcical.

Saadoun moved to Kyiv in 2019 to attend the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. He joined the Ukrainian armed forces in November, three months before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

It is unclear what impact, if any, the European Court of Human Rights’ order will have on the fate of the captured foreigners. The Court insists it can issue verdicts concerning Russia, as it is part of the Council of Europe. However, the Russian Duma passed two bills ending the court’s jurisdiction in Russia on June 9th, and the Council decided to expel Russia in March. At the time, Moscow said it was leaving the Council of its own volition.

  Brahim Saadoun, Aiden Aslin, Shaun Pinner, Foreign Fighters

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