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Father of convicted Moroccan facing possible execution in Ukraine plead for mercy

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The father of a Moroccan man facing possible execution by Russia-backed separatists in Ukraine appealled on Monday to Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene “as a father” to spare his son from the firing squad.

“I want my son back, just like any other father would,” Taher Saadoun told reporters in the Moroccan capital Rabat.

Saadoun also called on Morocco’s government to pursue negotiations on behalf of his son, Brahim, who was sentenced on June 9 to the death penalty alongside two Britons, Aiden Aslin and Shaun Pinner.

A court in the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic convicted all three of terrorism and trying to overturn constitutional order.

They were given a month to appeal, and could be executed as soon as early July if they don’t.

Saadoun’s father insisted that Brahim was not a mercenary, as the court claims, but was enlisted in Ukraine’s regular army.

The republic’s “foreign minister,” Nataliya Nikonorova, told Russian state TV on Monday that none of the three death-sentenced men have filed yet for pardons.

The father said Brahim’s local lawyer will submit the appeal as soon as things have calmed down a bit, without providing a date.