Yemen jails crew over arms shipment 'from Iran'

AFP , Tuesday 12 Nov 2013

Vessel carrying arms shipment from Iran intercepted by Yemeni authorities; its crew members sentenced to prison for collaborating with the Shia country

A Yemeni court on Tuesday sentenced crew members of a vessel intercepted with an arms shipment allegedly from Iran to between three and 10 years in prison.

The court in the main southern city of Aden jailed three defendants for six years and four others for one year, an AFP correspondent in the special court reported.

Another man was given a three-year jail term while a ninth, who remains at large, was handed a 10-year term.

The group, all Yemenis, were found guilty of "collaborating with Iran" and "smuggling arms from Iran to Yemen aboard Jihan II," according to the chargesheet.

The ship and its cargo were confiscated.

Yemeni authorities on 23 January intercepted the shipment which they said was carrying surface-to-air missiles, Katyusha rockets, explosives, ammunition and surveillance systems.

The Yemeni coast guard, in coordination with the US navy, intercepted the Jihan II in the Arabia Sea and authorities said it had set off from Iran.

Tehran has repeatedly denied any link to the shipment which was inspected by UN experts in February.

A 2007 UN resolution bans Iran from exporting arms.

A Yemeni security source said at the time that the arms were bound for Shia rebels who control the northern Saada province and are currently locked in deadly clashes with Sunni Salafists.

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