Twenty-five Iranian fishermen accused of drug trafficking have gone on trial in the Yemeni capital, judicial sources said on Sunday.
Twelve men whose case opened on Saturday are said to have smuggled 3.5 tons of hashish into Yemen, while 13 others who went on trial on Sunday are charged with illegal entry and possession of 20 kilos (44 pounds) of hashish.
The group of 13 was arrested by U.S. navy personnel who discovered three tons of the narcotics aboard the Iranian men's vessel, according to the prosecution.
The suspects were handed over to the Yemeni authorities after the destruction of all but 20 kilos (44 pounds) of the drugs, the court was told.
These men, whose statements to the court in Farsi were translated into Arabic, denied the charges and said the U.S. sailors threw a large quantity of fish into the sea from the hold and that there were no drugs on board.
Yemeni authorities say they have seized a total of 27 tons of drugs in the past nine months, mostly from Iranian traffickers trying to move them via Yemen to Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries in the Gulf.