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Russian Ferry Arrives At Sochi After Pro-Chechen Hijacking


Sochi, Russia Jan. 23 (RFE/RL) - Itar-Tass reports that the Black Sea ferry caught up in a Chechen hostage crisis last week arrived in the Russian port of Sochi early today.

The "Avrasya," with its freed hostages and crew on board, left Turkey on Sunday for Sochi. That had been the ferry's original destination before pro-Chechen gunmen seized it last week. The gunmen surrendered last Friday.

The hijackers had originally threatened to blow up the ship and its passengers in Istanbul's Bosphorus strait to protest Russia's tactics against Chechen separatists who were holding hostages of their own in the southern Russian republic of Dagestan.

Turkish police say they are still questioning the nine gunmen, two of whom are Chechens. Correspondents say they are likely to be tried under article 384 of Turkey's penal code, which prescribes up to nine years in jail for an armed group hijack.
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