A captured British-born fighter has launched an appeal to overturn his sentence, the DPR’s highest court has said.

Shaun Pinner, a captured British citizen who had been fighting for the Ukrainian army, has appealed his death sentence, the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) high court told TASS on Wednesday. The court now has up to two months to review the verdict. According to TASS, Pinner’s locally appointed lawyer asked the court to reduce the sentence to life in prison.

Pinner was captured by Russian and Donbass troops during the siege of Mariupol, and the DPR accused him of being a mercenary and waging an illegal war against the republic. He was sentenced to death this month along with another British citizen, Aiden Aslin, and Saadoun Brahim, who is originally from Morocco.

The British government said it was “horrified” for the verdict and vowed to fight for the release of Pinner and Aslin. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Aslin and Pinner should be treated as prisoners of war, not mercenaries, calling their trial in Donetsk a “mock trial with absolutely no legitimacy.” The Kremlin maintains that the trial itself and the sentence are internal affairs of the DPR.

Andrey Kelin, Russia’s ambassador to the UK, said last week that he had received a “contemptuous and condescending” letter from London about the two captured Britons. The tone of the message was “it is not a call to dialogue”, he added, advising the UK government to contact DPR authorities directly.

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