Father of Moroccan student condemned to death in pro-Russia Donetsk pleads for help from Rabat and Putin
Ibrahim Saadoun, a 21-year-old Moroccan student in Ukraine, is facing the death penalty in the pro-Russia Donetsk People's Republic under the charge of fighting alongside the Ukrainian forces against Russia.
In his latest attempt to save his son's life, Taher Saadoun, the father of Ibrahim, held a press conference on Monday to call on Moroccan authorities to take serious actions to return Ibrahim to his homeland.
"I appeal to the [Moroccan] Prime Minister to use whatever channels he has been given, to show that Morocco, which demolished a mountain to save the child Rayan, would race to save the lives of its citizens," said Taher Saadoun during the press conference.
"I am certain that my son will be liberated," he added.
On June 9, a court in the Donetsk People's Republic sentenced to death Ibrahim Saadoun, and two Britons, who were all accused of fighting as "mercenaries" in Ukraine.
The prisoners of war had pleaded guilty to actions aimed at the violent seizure of power, although none of them admitted to having fought as mercenaries in the Ukrainian war.
Saadoun had reportedly joined Ukrainian forces before Putin's offensive on Kyiv.
He signed a contract with the Ukrainian Marines in 2019, according to his father's statements.
Judicial authorities in the pro-Russian separatist republic have said the convicts have one month to appeal the sentence.
While the British government, which stands with Ukraine against Putin's offence, has been quick to condemn the sentencing, for its part, Morocco has adhered to silence.
A silence that Morocco refuged to since the start of the Russian war in February, leaving political analysts puzzled facing Rabat’s unexpected "neutrality".
Following Saadoun's father's pleas, reports surfaced that Donetsk People's Republic has granted Rabat permission to talk with the prosecuted student.
The Moroccan embassy in Kyiv denied the reports immediately, stressing that the so-called Donetsk People's Republic "is not recognized either by our country or by the United Nations."
The Donetsk People's Republic is a quasi-state located in Ukraine, formed on April 7, 2014, by pro-Russian separatists following the Ukrainian Revolution of Dignity.
In contrast to the Moroccan official silence, Saadoun's father says he was offered a "good welcome" at the Russian embassy in Rabat.
"I thank Russian forces for keeping my son alive. (…) I hope that President Vladimir Putin will intervene as a father and with a humanitarian motive in order to stop the execution of Ibrahim," added Taher Saadoun.