Three Brits accused of being mercenaries to stand trial in Russian court
Three Britons accused of being mercenaries will stand trial in a Russian proxy court in eastern Ukraine.
John Harding, Cambridgeshire aid worker Dylan Healy, 22, and military volunteer Andrew Hill will be tried in the Moscow-backed Supreme Court of the Donetsk People’s Republic, according to Russian state news agency Tass.
Tass reported all three men were refusing to co-operate with investigators. They will be tried alongside two other men from Croatia and Sweden as “foreign citizens accused of mercenarism”, a court representative told the agency.
Prosecutors allege all five men were members of the Azov battalion and other military units captured in Mariupol.
Tass also said 60-year-old Mr Harding had fought in Syria on the Kurdish side but had denied killing anyone.
It comes after a video shown on Russian television in April featured a man speaking with an English accent who appeared to give his name as Andrew Hill from Plymouth.
The Donetsk court last month sentenced British men Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner to death in what the Foreign Office considers “sham judgements”, with the European Court of Human Rights forced to intervene in the case.
The Strasbourg-based court indicated to Moscow that it should ensure the death penalty imposed on Mr Aslin, 28, originally from Newark in Nottinghamshire, and Mr Pinner, 48, from Bedfordshire, was not carried out.
The Foreign Office is understood to be actively investigating and is providing support to the men’s families.