A feature length video of Aiden Aslin, a British prisoner of war who surrendered in Ukraine, has been pulled from YouTube after a furious backlash.
The 45-minute film was posted by Graham Phillips, a former Perth High School pupil and ex Dundee university student.
As well as deleting the video, YouTube suspended money-making ads on his channel “indefinitely”.
The self-styled independent journalist and Kremlin sympathiser sparked outrage for filming the captive Briton, who was fighting for the Ukrainian military in the east of the country.
However, other users have posted versions and clips elsewhere on the platform.
Death penalty warning
In the now deleted main video, Mr Phillips was filmed interviewing Mr Aslin himself after his surrender to Russians.
Mr Aslin was in handcuffs and was described as a prisoner of war.
The interviewer opened the exchanges by asking him to confirm he is not being coerced.
At times, Mr Phillips prompted the captive with his answers.
He also told the camera the Geneva Conventions on prisoners do not “necessarily apply”.
Telling him to state he is a mercenary, he adds the penalty is normally death.
It’s suggested a prisoner exchange would save him from potential execution.
He is handcuffed throughout the video and acknowledges he has been told he faces the death penalty.
– Foreign Office source
On Wednesday, Foreign Office sources told us they were aware of the detention and are in touch with families for support.
“It is impossible to tell from the video what, if any, of this he believes and what he feels compelled to say,” the source told us.
“While he says he is not under duress, he is handcuffed throughout the video and acknowledges he has been told he faces the death penalty.”
Mr Aslin, who was in besieged Mariupol, explained he was with Marines in the conflict.
He came to Ukraine in 2018 after time with Kurds.
But then he says he was “misled” and “impressionable”.
We approached YouTube for comment on Wednesday and contacted Mr Phillips to respond to criticism.
YouTube responded to say they were “reviewing” the video on Thursday night.
It was deleted late on Friday afternoon.
A YouTube spokesperson said on Friday evening: “The video in question has been removed after we received a valid privacy complaint.”
The platform said “monetisation” was suspended for violating the “creator responsibility policy”.
Who is Graham Phillips?
Mr Phillips was a civil servant for the UK Government but went on to visit Ukraine.
His interest appears to focus after the 2014 revolution when he posted videos from the breakaway regions of the east.
He was linked to Kremlin broadcaster RT and was eventually detained by Ukrainian authorities and banned from the country.
He continued to visit the eastern region and produced pro-Russian content.
Mr Phillips was also recently photographed in front of luggage bearing a huge Z symbol, a common pro-Russian invasion sign.
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