Arctic Sea: alleged hijackers deny everything

Leaving court on Friday, Dmitry Bartenev said: "We were caught in a storm and were forced to evacuate to the nearest ship."

Defendant Dmitry Bartenev, 41, an unemployed Russian citizen living in Estonia, was dragged handcuffed through the court room and arrested. His head bowed in a cage, he said solving the maritime mystery was not in Russia's jurisdiction.

"A Russian court does not have the right to hear this case. The alleged illegal act happened in Swedish waters on a ship with a Maltese flag."

Maltese-flagged cargo vessel Arctic Sea is owned by Solchart, based in Finland with Russian executives. "We are appealing to all officials with a request to show humanity and provide Solchart with any reliable information on the crew and the vessel," Viktor Matveyev, managing director of the Finnish company, said.

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