Russia says pirates who held tanker are freed

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
May 7, 2010 16:49

 
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The pirates seized by a Russian warship off the coast of Somalia have been released because of "imperfections" in international law, the Defense Ministry said Friday, a claim that sparked skepticism — and even suspicion the pirates might have been killed.

Authorities initially said the pirates would be brought to Russia to face criminal charges for hijacking a Russian oil tanker. But Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Alexei Kuznetsov told The Associated Press on Friday that the pirates had been released.

Kuznetsov declined to elaborate on the purported legal flaws that prompted the release and it was unclear how the seizure of the tanker might be legally different from last year's alleged hijacking of the Russian-crewed freighter Arctic Sea.

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