Donetsk, Aug 15 — DAN. All five mercenaries who appeared in the DPR Supreme Court Appeal Chamber today pleaded not guilty, DAN correspondent reports.
Earlier, the Appeals Chamber received the criminal case against Mattias Gustavsson from Sweden, Vjekoslav Prebeg from Croatia, John Harding, Dylan Healy, Andrew Hill from the Great Britain.
The five foreigners are charged with mercenary activities, forcible seizure of power, assisting in recruitment of mercenaries.
Gustavsson told the court that he has signed a contract with the Ukrainian army without reading it, and had not received any compensations. He insists that he has never been to the frontline and never fired a gun, as he was only responsible for guarding the territory of the Ilyicha plant in Mariupol and a military compound in Vodyanoye. He took shelter at the Azovstal plant because he “wanted to survive”.
Prebeg says he “had no particular skills for terrorist attacks”, and he was just watching the “enemy’s positions”. He argues that the last time he fired a gun was before the operation.
Healy considers himself a volunteer, and maintains he delivered medications and evacuated people from military actions areas, as well as transferred interpreters for Ukrainian armed formations.
Hill sticks to a similar story, saying that he was part of a volunteer legion and was given a rifle, but never took part in combat.
Harding refused to testify.
The Appeals Chamber of the Donetsk People’s Republic Supreme Court handed down on June 9 death sentences to three foreign mercenaries who had fought on the side of Ukrainian armed formations. The defendants, British nationals Shaun Pinner and Aiden Aslin and a Moroccan national Saadun Brahim, are the first foreign mercenaries to be convicted in the Donetsk People’s Republic. They were charged under four articles of the DPR Criminal Code: committing a crime by a group of persons, violent coup or retention of power by force, mercenary activities, and training for terrorist activity. The mercenaries pleaded guilty to the charges.
The court found that the mercenaries’ actions led to civilian casualties and damage to the Republic’s social and civil infrastructure. *ot