Russians compelled UK prisoner to file goodbye to his daughter

Russians compelled UK prisoner to file goodbye to his daughter

A freed UK prisoner of the Ukraine struggle stated his Russian captors compelled him to file a heart-wrenching goodbye message to his daughter whereas tricking him into pondering he was about to face a firing squad.

John Harding, 59, recalled his torturous therapy in captivity in Ukraine after being considered one of 5 Brits freed this week and flown residence by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, the former proprietor of Chelsea soccer membership.

“There have been beatings, electrocutions and extra beatings,” Harding advised the Every day Mail of his imprisonment after surrendering on the Azov steelworks in Mariupol in Could.

Freed prisoner John Harding says his Russian captors made him file a goodbye message to his daughter.

“One man was stabbed within the leg … I feel they tortured us for enjoyable. It might go on for an hour to a number of hours,” he stated of his brutish captors, who left them “at all times blindfolded.”

Within the worst beating, his guards laughed as they put a plastic bag over his head and punched, kicked and even jumped on him for half-hour whereas his arms had been cuffed, he advised The Solar. He broke most of his ribs and was left urinating blood.

However essentially the most torturous abuse got here after he was convicted by a ­kangaroo court docket of struggle crimes, he advised each shops.

John Harding with other foreign prisoners in court.
John Harding stated “there have been beatings, electrocutions and extra beatings” whereas in jail.

Then, he was advised he had been sentenced to dying — along with his guards making him file a goodbye video to his daughter whereas convincing him he was about to face a firing squad.

“I believed, ‘I simply want they’d f—ing kill me now,’” he advised The Solar of his “appalling” abuse.

“If I’d have recognized how we’d be handled earlier than we surrendered, I might’ve stayed and arrange a sniper’s nest and simply tried to take just a few of them out earlier than I received killed,” he stated.

The merciless therapy continued proper till he was on his aircraft residence, considered one of 10 foreigners launched this week, together with US navy veterans Alex Drueke and Andy Huynh.

As an alternative of being advised he was being freed, Harding stated he was satisfied he was being taken to his dying when he was tied up with a hood on his head behind a truck for a 20-hour journey out of Ukraine.

“We’d been on the ground of the truck and all that point it crossed my thoughts” that it could possibly be his closing journey, he recalled of being within the truck with fellow freed Brits Aiden Aslin, Dylan Healy, Andrew Hill and Shaun Pinner.

John Harding appears in court with other foreign nationals last month.
John Harding was considered one of 10 overseas nationals lastly freed this week.

“When somebody realized we had been in Russia we had been like “Oh, f–okay!” We weren’t positive if that journey was going to finish with us tied to a publish.”

That sense of doom continued till the aircraft they had been jetted residence on was safely away from Russia and over Egypt, he stated.

“Lastly, I lifted the blinds at 30,000ft and thought for the primary time ‘We’re not going to die,’” he advised the Mail.

It was not the one shock on the flight.

At one level, one of many freed males, Pinner, 48, went as much as one of many passengers onboard and advised him, ‘You’re the spitting picture of Roman Abramovich,” Harding advised to The Solar.

“And he went, ‘That’s as a result of I’m him!’” Harding recalled, saying they teased the ex-Chelsea boss about Pinner supporting rival London membership West Ham.

“He was truly effectively concerned within the negotiations, we came upon,” Harding stated of the oligarch, who was compelled to promote Chelsea amid sanctions after his homeland’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The man’s a little bit of a hero in Ukraine,” he advised The Solar. “He’s effectively revered by Ukrainians and massively by us now, too — he’s performed a hell of loads for us and we couldn’t thank him sufficient.”

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