The following article was published on May 22 at surfermag.org.
(Reprinted with permission.
)

Captain Paul Watson with Kelly Slater. Photo: Deborah BassettCaptain Paul Watson with Kelly Slater.
Photo: Deborah Bassett
Sea Shepherd Founder Captain Paul Watson has been under arrest in Frankfurt, Germany, and faces extradition to Costa Rica for an incident that occurred over a decade ago when he apprehended an illegal shark finning operation off the coast of Guatemala. While Captain Watson was “released” Monday from Frankfurt prison on 250,000 Euro bail on Monday, he remains under house arrest during which time the German courts will consider whatever documentation Costa Rica is able to produce in what appears to be a case motivated by political agenda.

Captain Watson’s arrest is based on allegations of violating “ships traffic” in Guatemalan waters, after a clash in 2002 between fishermen on the ship Varadero who were illegally poaching sharks and the Sea Shepherd’s ship, Ocean Warrior. After apprehending the Varadero in Guatemalan waters on what Sea Shepherd said were orders from Guatemalan authorities, the fisherman accused Captain Watson of attempted murder. Watson was prosecuted upon return to Costa Rica and the initial charges were dismissed. A second arrest warrant was later filed but lapsed before it was mysteriously reactivated last October even after Interpol released a statement in which it said it refused in March to publish a Red Notice seeking Captain Watson’s arrest because its Office of Legal Affairs was not satisfied the request complied with Interpol’s constitution and rules.

Eleven-time World Surfing Champion and Sea Shepherd Advisory Board member, Kelly Slater, recently stepped up to the plate to rally international support for Captain Paul Watson in the surfing world. On Sunday he wrote:

“This situation cannot thrive if there is transparency. For example, connections and investments by the Chinese and Taiwanese with Costa Rican for infrastructure investments in Costa Rica, result in Costa Rica turning a blind eye to the shark finning industry and illegal fishing off the coast, all the while Costa Rica promotes ecotourism based upon the country’s biodiversity and natural beauty. If a light is shined on these connections, their ability to pull secret levers of power will evaporate.”

The incident in question was thoroughly documented in the award winning film Sharkwater, released in 2007, which brought world wide media attention to the hideous reality of the corrupt and brutal shark finning industry. A recent clip of the incident was issued by Film Maker Rob Stewart in order to prove Captain Watson’s innocence and be viewed below.

Added Slater: “The situation that we find Captain Watson in, now shines a light on these dark corners. It is literally now a simple choice by government, to overturn and release Captain Watson given that the entire incident where he confronted the illegal poachers was caught on tape. The video establishes the facts, and this calls into question the motives of those continuing to pursue Captain Watson despite those facts. No person or vessel was injured during the melee and Watson was following instructions from Guatemalan government officials while protecting natural resources under the UN protocol. He’s already paid a fine and been released, but someone still has a bone to pick with him somewhere else in the world, and they are wrongly being helped behind closed doors by some murky government power.

In the event that Captain Watson is extradited to Costa Rica, it is inevitable that he would not receive a fair trial, nor would his safety be guaranteed. Between the illegal activities of the Japanese whaling industry and the notorious shark finning mafia in Costa Rica, Captain Watson has made several formidable enemies throughout his 40 years on the front lines who seek to stop his highly successful efforts to uphold global conservation laws and defend marine life. The shark finning mafia, which operates illegally in Costa Rica, could easily try to harm Captain Watson and extradition to Costa Rica could result in what Captain Watson described in his own words as “a certain death sentence.”

On May 23rd day of action to Free Paul Waston is set to take place at German embassies and consulates around the world to encourage Germany to stop extradition to Costa Rica and release Captain Watson. On this day the President of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, will be visiting German Chancellor Merkel in Berlin. Please see the Sea Shepherd Website for further details on events in your area. – Deborah Bassett

Captain Watson has given the majority of his life for the protections of those who do not have a voice and now it is our turn to be a voice for him. Please contact the two people who have the power to release Captain Paul Watson by respectfully contacting the following individuals:

Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger
Federal Minister of Justice
Deutscher Bundestag
Platz der Republik
11011 Berlin
Telephone 030 – 227 751 62
Fax 030 – 227 764 02
E-Mail: sabine.leutheusser-schnarrenberger@bundestag.de

Federal Ministry of Justice
Mohrenstrasse 37
10117 Berlin, Germany
Telephone: +49 (030) 18 580-0
Telefax: +49 (030) 18 580-9525
Dr. Guido Westerwelle

Minister of Foreign Affairs
FDP-Bundestagsfraktion
Platz der Republik 1
11011 Berlin
Tel.: 030 / 22771636
Fax: 030 / 22776562
E-Mail: guido.westerwelle@bundestag.de

Sea Shepherd
Divina Guadalupe Beaked Whale Research Project
Divina Guadalupe Beaked Whale Research Project
**If you cannot see the captions on this video, just click on CC on the lower right corner of video settings on the video ** #Breaking #SeaShepherd helps scientists learn more about #rare Beaked whales! Did you know that Cuvier's Beaked whales hold the record for the deepest mammalian dive? Watch t...
Operation Milagro III Campaign Launch Video
Operation Milagro III Campaign Launch Video
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is returning to Mexico’s Gulf of California for Operation Milagro III to save the near extinct vaquita marina porpoise and the endangered totoaba bass. The M/V Farley Mowat is back on active duty with the M/V Sam Simon joining the Milagro campaign for the first ti...
Sea Shepherd Investigates Whale Corpse in Sea of Cortez
Sea Shepherd Investigates Whale Corpse in Sea of Cortez
The Farley Mowat Sea Shepherd crew is called out to investigate a dead Brydes whale in the Gulf of California on November 5th, 2016 while patrolling the vaquita refuge. To help the Sea Shepherd crew to continue its work in the Sea of Cortez, including protecting the near-extinct vaquita marina porpo...
Entanglement in the South
Entanglement in the South
Operation Guardian Angel - In and around Bahia de Los Angeles, in the Gulf of California, countless marine species are entrapped in nets with little or no hope of rescue. Rosalia Tellez works for CONANP, a department of the Mexican government that acts as park rangers to enforce laws and assist in ...
Good and Bad Days
Good and Bad Days
This video follows Sea Shepherd volunteers over the course of two days. The first day Sea Shepherd locates and removes a long line from the sea; fortunately no animals were caught in the net. However, the next day volunteers find a sea lion that has been caught and died in a fisherman's net.
Operation Virus Hunter Campaign Summary
Operation Virus Hunter Campaign Summary
Sea Shepherd campaign Operation Virus Hunter saw the vessel RV Martin Sheen under the leadership of Alexandra Morton, head up the coast of British Columbia Canada to expose open pen Atlantic salmon farms and the impact they are having on wild Pacific salmon and the the surrounding eco-systems.
Illegal Totoaba Nets
Illegal Totoaba Nets
This video follows Sea Shepherd volunteers through the process of locating, retrieving and disposing of illegal nets in the Gulf of California.
Discovering Alleged Wild Salmon Dead in Fish Farms
Discovering Alleged Wild Salmon Dead in Fish Farms
August 12th 2016: Early Thursday morning the R/V Martin Sheen assisted Melissa Willie, a band councilor of the Musgamagw Dza’wada’enuxw nation, in hand delivering a letter to three farms expressing the nations disapproval of the industry. Sea Shepherd crew alongside independent biologist Alexand...
The Grind of the Faroe Islands
The Grind of the Faroe Islands
Ross McCall travels to the Faroe Islands to explore the truths behind the centuries old tradition of the brutal Pilot Whale drives.
Operation Virus Hunter: A Salmon PSA with Pamela Anderson
Operation Virus Hunter: A Salmon PSA with Pamela Anderson
Sea Shepherd Chairman of the Board, actor/activist Pamela Anderson, cautions viewers about the dangers of eating farmed salmon.
Why Just One?  Indiegogo Video
Why Just One? Indiegogo Video
Support Sea Shepherd's documentary by sharing and backing our Indiegogo campaign here: http://bit.ly/1OfvER6
Milagro Summary - English
Milagro Summary - English
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's Operation Milagro II has come to an end. Milagro is its campaign to fight the looming extinction of the vaquita porpoise, the most endangered marine mammal in the world. With an estimate of less than 100 surviving vaquita, Sea Shepherd ships the R/V Martin Sheen...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 15 - Good Bye
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 15 - Good Bye
Watch the crew of the Farley Mowat capture footage of illegal fishing activity with a night vision drone and pull up a totoaba net in the dead of night. This is the final vlog of Operation Milagro II!
Sea Shepherd's Ethical Research Whale Project
Sea Shepherd's Ethical Research Whale Project
Sea Shepherd's Ethical Research Whale Project is dedicated to collect samples from whales in the Gulf of California to measure levels of toxins in whales in order to determine the levels of toxins in the Gulf of California itself. Learn more at: www.seashepherd.org
Totoaba Poachers Caught on Camera
Totoaba Poachers Caught on Camera
Never before seen footage. Sea Shepherd catches critically endangered totoaba poacher in the act. The Sea Shepherd crew filmed these totoaba poachers as they were checking one of their illegal nets in the protected vaquita habitat. The vaquita porpoise is the most endangered marine mammal in the wor...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 14 - Saving Lives
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 14 - Saving Lives
Watch‬ the routine of our crew doing valuable work in the ‪Sea of Cortez‬. We have been very effective at removing illegal fishing gear from the ‪‎vaquita‬ porpoise's habitat. So much so, that now, most of the time we remove nets and lines that are mostly empty, our favorite thing to do....
Sea Shepherd finds 3 dead vaquitas in 3 weeks
Sea Shepherd finds 3 dead vaquitas in 3 weeks
The Sea Shepherd crew has found 3 dead vaquitas in 3 weeks in the month of march of 2016. The vaquita porpoise is the most endangered marine mammal in the world. Learn more at: www.seashepherd.org/milagro2
Sea Shepherds finds a dead sample of the most endangered marine mammal in the world
Sea Shepherds finds a dead sample of the most endangered marine mammal in the world
While patrolling the waters of the upper Gulf of California the Sea Shepherd crew found a dead vaquita porpoise. The vaquita is the most endangered marine mammal in the whole world. The crew also found a Great White Shark caught in an illegal gillnet.
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 12 - This is Direct Action
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 12 - This is Direct Action
This week, the crew of ‪Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ships The M/V Farley Mowat and The RV Martin Sheen find and retrieve an illegal totoaba bass long line from the critically endangered ‪vaquita porpoise habitat. The totoaba fish is also critically endangered. Watch all episodes at: http...
Sea Shepherd Crew Save Humpback Whale Entangled in Illegal Gillnet
Sea Shepherd Crew Save Humpback Whale Entangled in Illegal Gillnet
Sea Shepherd crew rescued a whale entangled in an illegal totoaba gillnet in the Gulf of California. Sea Shepherd currently has two vessels in Mexico's Gulf of California on OPERATION MILAGRO. Our goal is to save the vaquita porpoises, the most endangered marine mammal. The vaquita are caught as a r...
Gregg Lowe on Sea Shepherd's Operation Milagro
Gregg Lowe on Sea Shepherd's Operation Milagro
You might know Gregg Lowe from X-Men: Days of Future Past, but now watch him explain Sea Shepherd's Operation Milagro and understand why we must save the #VaquitaMarina - The most endangered cetacean in the world. Help us save the vaquita at: http://seashepherd.org/milagro2/donate-now/vaquita-appeal...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 11 - Big Fish
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 11 - Big Fish
This week the crew of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society's ships The Farley Mowat and The Martin Sheen find and retrieve an illegal totoaba bass net from the critically endangered vaquita marina's habitat Watch all episodes at: http://www.seashepherd.org/milagro2/multimedia/videos.html ‪#‎OpMilag...
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 10 - Light up the Dark
Operation Milagro II: Vlog 10 - Light up the Dark
Actor Gregg Lowe crews with Sea Shepherd to help us protect the vaquita. The M/V Farley Mowat lights up the vaquita refuge and deters poacher from laying deadly nets in the vaquita marina's habitat. Watch all episodes at: http://seashepherd.org/milagro2/multimedia
Sea Shepherd Wildlife - False Killer Whales
Sea Shepherd Wildlife - False Killer Whales
The first video of our new series "Sea Shepherd Wildlife". This episode is about one of the lesser know large dolphins - The False Killer Whales. Learn more about these beautiful creatures with the Sea Shepherd crew. Share it with your friends. Video by Carolina A. Castro Narration by Nicole D'Entr...
Sea Shepherd Removes gillnet from Endangered Vaquita Habitat
Sea Shepherd Removes gillnet from Endangered Vaquita Habitat
Sea Shepherd Removes gillnet from Endangered Vaquita Habitat.