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Russia charges 8 in Arctic Sea case

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August 27, 2009 09:04 AM EST | AP


MOSCOW — Russia has formally filed criminal charges against eight alleged hijackers of the freighter Arctic Sea, whose voyage is still heavily shrouded in mystery.

The General Prosecutor's Investigative Committee said Thursday seven of the suspects are being charged with kidnapping and piracy and the eighth with organizing the crimes.

The Russian-crewed freighter went missing this month. It was found by a Russian navy frigate in waters off Cape Verde, thousands of miles from its planned port of call in Algeria.

Russian authorities say the ship was seized in the Baltic Sea in late July after departing Finland with a load of timber. However, widespread speculation persists that the ship was carrying clandestine cargo.