“A Russian-backed separatist court in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk charged five foreign nationals captured fighting with Ukrainian forces with being mercenaries on Monday, saying three could face the death penalty, Russian media reported,” according to the Reuters news agency.
Prebeg, Harding and Gustafsson were captured in and around the port city of Mariupol, and they face a possible death sentence under the laws of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported.
On 10 August, Croatia’s Foreign and European Affairs Ministry strongly condemned the indictment against Croatian national Prebeg, who has been detained in the self-proclaimed republic of Donetsk.
Croatia “rejects the indictment and does not consider it to be legally sound because it is contrary to international law and conventions on the treatment of captured civilians and prisoners of war,” the ministry said in a press release a few days ago.
The ministry and competent services are in constant contact with the Ukrainian authorities and other partners in order to shed light on the case and have Prebeg released, the ministry said on 10 August, adding that it has been in touch with the detainee’s family.
According to Reuters, two more Britons, Dylan Healy and Andrew Hill, were also charged but do not face execution. All five of the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges, TASS reported.
It cited the judge as saying that the trial would resume in early October.