RABAT (Reuters) – The father of a Moroccan man sentenced to death by a court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) on mercenary charges urged his country on Monday to open a dialogue with pro-Russia Donetsk authorities to help release his son.
Tahar Saadoun said although Rabat did not recognise the DPR, it should find channels to communicate with authorities there over his son Brahim Saadoun, 21.
He was found guilty last month of “mercenary activities and committing actions aimed at seizing power and overthrowing the constitutional order” of the DPR along with two Britons, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner.
The three men were captured while fighting for Ukraine against Russia and Russian-backed forces.
The Moroccan foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment on the case of Brahim Saadoun.
A Moroccan diplomatic source in Ukraine told state news agency MAP last month that Saadoun had been jailed by “an entity that is neither recognized by Morocco nor by the UN.”
Morocco has not openly condemned the Russian invasion and has not attended the two votes against Russia at the UN. But it said it rejected the use of force in inter-state disputes and called for dialogue.
The father urged Russian authorities and the Donetsk court to allow Russian and international lawyers to join the trial in defence of his son in an appeals stage.
His son, who had Ukrainian nationality, had signed a contact with the Ukrainian army prior to the outbreak of the war as a prerequisite to pursue aerospace studies at a university in Kyiv, he said.
“We hope the court will take into account his age, lack of experience and his accidental presence on the frontline in order to drop the death sentence and grant him pardon to return to us,” he said, adding that there was no evidence of him engaging in fighting.
“Russia is the country responsible for the life of my son,” he said.
(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi, Editing by William Maclean)