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Sat 15 Nov 2008 02:54 PM

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Yemen court sentences drug smuggler to death

Head of group of Iranian sailors given death penalty, found with 1.5 tonnes of hash.

A Yemeni court on Saturday sentenced to death the head of a group of Iranian sailors held with a cargo of about 1.5 tonnes of hashish.

The court also issued jail sentences of 25 years each against 11 other Iranians and a crew member believed to be Pakistani, whose vessel had been seized by US-led naval forces and handed over to Yemeni authorities.

Both the prosecution and defence lawyers said they would appeal the sentences.

Iran is a major transit route for drugs from Afghanistan, a top producer of opium and hashish, to the West and Gulf Arab states. (Reuters)