Over 100 Azov Fighters Awaiting Trial, Says Donetsk Separatist Leader
More than 100 Ukrainian fighters from Azov will face trial, said Denis Pushilin, leader of the Russian-backed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).
“They have already been transferred from the places where they were held as prisoners to the pre-trial detention center. All further steps are being prepared for them. A court is waiting for them,” Pushilin said Wednesday on the Solovyov Live news channel, broadcast on Telegram. .
The last fighters: The Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol — the last stronghold of the Ukrainian resistance in the otherwise Russian-occupied southern city — fell to Russian forces in May, when the last group of fighters at the steel plant surrendered.
At the time, Russian authorities claimed that more than 1,700 fighters defending the steel plant had left and were in detention or in a self-proclaimed DPR hospital.
Western governments and human rights groups fear that those convicted will face the death penalty.
Clear path for executions: Last Friday, the parliament of the Donetsk People’s Republic abolished the ban on executions, the Russian state news agency TASS reported.
Yelena Shishkina, who chairs the parliamentary commission on criminal and administrative law, stated that “the option of capital punishment will serve as a deterrent against very serious crimes,” according to TASS.
This comes as Britain’s Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin, and Morocco’s Brahim Saadoune, are appealing death sentences after being found guilty of being Ukrainian “mercenaries” by a DPR court.
Previously, Shishkina had ruled out the possibility of releasing any Azov fighters as part of a prisoner swap.