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Latvian Gets 3 Years in Arctic Sea Hijacking

A Moscow court sentenced a Latvian national to three years in a maximum-security prison Friday after convicting him of hijacking the Arctic Sea freighter in July 2009.

Sergeis Demchenko, 37, was convicted in a closed-door trial of piracy, the Moscow City Court said in a statement.

But Demchenko did not personally participate in the attack, instead training the attackers and planning the attack, Dmitry Savins, another Latvian, who was sentenced to seven years in prison in June in connection with the incident, told the court earlier, Interfax reported.

Demchenko has pleaded guilty and cooperated with investigators, Interfax reported.

The freighter carrying a cargo of timber from Kaliningrad to West Africa mysteriously disappeared off the coast of Sweden in July 2009 and was rediscovered and boarded by the Russian Navy off Cape Verde a month later.

Another suspected hijacker, Andrei Lunyov, was sentenced to five years in prison in May.

Six other suspects — Alexei Andryushin, Dmitry Bartenev, Igor Borisov, Alexei Buleyev, Vitaly Lepins and Yevgeny Mironov — are awaiting trial at the Arkhangelsk regional court and face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. The freighter's crew hailed from Arkhangelsk.

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