Panama court frees captain of seized North Korea ship

The Panama Canal. (File) (Graham Chadwick/ALLSPORT, Getty Images)
The Panama Canal. (File) (Graham Chadwick/ALLSPORT, Getty Images)
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Updated: 6/28 12:12 am

PANAMA CITY (AP) — A Panamanian court has acquitted the captain and two other officers of charges stemming from the seizure of a North Korean ship last July for carrying undeclared military equipment from Cuba.

A Friday statement from the court in Colon says the weapons and other equipment will be turned over to Panamanian authorities.

The court ordered the three crewmen of the Chong Chon Gan freed. The ship's other 32 sailors were allowed to sail the vessel back to North Korea in February after the owner paid a $700,000 fine.

The ship was stopped as it tried to enter the Panama Canal and was found to hold two Cuban fighter jets and other military equipment hidden under tons of sugar. U.N. experts determined the ship had violated U.N. sanctions against North Korea.

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