Court hearing on pre-trial restraint for Arctic Sea hijacking suspects in Basmanny District Court© RIA Novosti. Alexey Kudenko
MOSCOW, August 22 (RIA Novosti) - A Moscow court has approved the detention of the eight men suspected of hijacking the Arctic Sea cargo ship, which was found in the Atlantic more two weeks after going missing in mysterious circumstances.
The Basmanny Court late on Friday remanded in custody two Russians, one Estonian and one Latvian, as well as three stateless men and one whose citizenship has not been established.
The men are in essence all unemployed residents of Estonia, where many ethnic Russians lack citizenship due in part to a language requirement on the citizenship test.
All eight deny accusations of piracy and hostage-taking.
Eleven crew members have been questioned in Moscow, while four remain on the Arctic Sea, which is being towed to Russia's Black Sea port of Novorossiisk for further investigation.
The Maltese-flagged cargo vessel was found off Cape Verde on Monday with 15 Russian crewmembers and eight suspected hijackers on board. The ship was freed by the Russian Ladny missile frigate without a single shot being fired.
The ship, carrying a cargo of timber worth less than $2 million, had been missing since late July when it was found. The Russian government and Finnish police say the hijackers demanded a $1.5 million ransom.
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