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Court upholds arrest of suspect in Arctic Sea seizure

RIA Novosti

19:49 30/09/2009 MOSCOW, September 30 (RIA Novosti) - The Moscow City Court on Wednesday upheld the arrest of an Estonian national suspected of involvement in the seizure of the Arctic Sea merchant vessel in July, a court spokesperson said.

Anna Usachyova said the court had dismissed an appeal from Yevgeny Mironov, who was remanded in custody on piracy and kidnapping charges following a ruling by a Moscow borough court.

The Arctic Sea, a Maltese-flagged and Russian-crewed vessel, listed as carrying lumber from Russia to Algeria, was reportedly boarded by a group of eight men on July 24. Officials later said it had disappeared in the Atlantic. It was freed off Cape Verde on August 16 by Russia's Ladny frigate.

The eight men accused of involvement in the disappearance of the ship - Estonian, Latvian and Russian nationals - have denied charges of piracy and kidnapping, insisting that they were environmentalists who requested assistance from the Maltese-flagged Arctic Sea after their vessel got into trouble.

The ship has been the focus of media speculation, with some reports speculating it was carrying Russian S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Iran or Syria. Moscow has denied the reports.

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