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The father of Brahim Saadoune, 21, a Moroccan citizen who received a death sentence in the self-declared breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic, wrote a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin appealing for his son’s freedom.

Brahim Saadoune and Britons Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner fought alongside Ukrainian soldiers before being captured by Russian forces. A Russian-backed tribunal in the separatist Donetsk region charged all three as foreign mercenaries and sentenced them to death June 9. They were given 30 days to appeal.

“Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, we hope for your mercy and wisdom, because you yourself are a father and know firsthand about father’s feelings. In addition, you believe in the Lord God, who always calls for peace, tolerance and the forgiveness of sins,” Taher Saadoune wrote in his letter, which was posted on Telegram by Margarita Simonyan, editor in chief of the Russian state-controlled television channel RT.

Brahim came to Ukraine in 2019 for his studies and in 2021 was “fraudulently recruited into the Ukrainian army on a contract basis,” his father wrote, citing his son’s young age and lack of life experience.

He also wrote that his son was “a good young man who fell in love with Russia from childhood, so he learned Russian.”

Brahim’s father said he lost contact with his son in March and was unaware that he was transferred to the front lines in eastern Ukraine. He said it came as a surprise to learn that his son had surrendered to the Russian military.

“Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, we trust you and all your decisions. We also believe in the fairness of justice in the DPR, we believe in the politicians of this republic,” Taher Saadoune wrote, adding that the head of the DPR gave the parents “the opportunity to attend the meetings of the Court of Appeal.”

He wrote that his son’s health has deteriorated day by day, saying that “he is severely emaciated.”

Toward the end, Taher Saadoune wrote: “Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, we very much hope that you will contribute to the pardon of our son and return a smile and calmness to our family, which believes that Brahim got involved in this war completely in vain.

“Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, I bow to you as a sign of respect and pray to the Lord that he grants you every success for the benefit of Russia and the great Russian people.”

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