Mystery freighter hijacker sentenced to three years

Sergey Demchenko, one of the organizers of the pirate attack on the Russian vessel Arctic Sea has been sentenced to thee years in jail. Demchenko pleaded guilty and struck a plea bargain.

The trial of the pirate was held behind closed doors, and neither the convict nor his lawyers agreed to speak to the press after the sentence was announced.

Earlier Dmitry Savins, the head of the gang which seized the Russian freighter last summer, was sentenced to seven years, while one of his subordinates received five years. Savins was the one to point at Demchenko as the man who financed the whole adventure. Six other gang members are yet to be tried.

The Russian ship Arctic Sea was hijacked in Swedish territorial waters in late July 2009, as it was transporting lumber from Finland to Alger. She went missing shortly afterwards, to be discovered only in mid-August near Cape Verde, where a Russian Navy marine team raided it and arrested the pirates.

The story received a great deal of media attention and spurred a number of conspiracy theories about the nature of the ship’s cargo and her destination.