Yemen preparing to try 11 Iranian sailors found in its waters

(dpa) - Yemeni prosecutors are preparing to try 11 Iranian sailors for illegally sailing into Yemen's territorial waters, a prosecution official said in remarks published Monday.

The small Iranian boat was seized by coast guard patrols off the south-eastern province of al-Mahra on the Arabian Sea in mid- February.

Officials said coast guard officers found a small quantity of drugs on board of the boat, saying it could be for personal use and not for trafficking.

"We are about to finish interrogating the 11 Iranian sailors who were seized off the Yemeni shores in mid-February," said Haidan Jumaan Haidan, the head of public prosecution in al-Ghaida, the provincial capital of al-Mahra, some 1,300 kilometres from the capital Sana'a.

Haidan told state-run newspapers that prosecutors "could not yet establish the real reasons behind the entry of the Iranian boat and its crew into the Yemeni territorial waters."

He said prosecutors have encountered "difficulties translating the accounts of the Iranian sailors."

Al-Mahra is one of hot spots in the route used by drug traffickers from Iran and Pakistan to reach oil-rich countries in the Gulf.

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