Sea Shepherd Has Learned Japan May Also Be Seeking To Extradite Watson
After three days of speculation surrounding his whereabouts, German legal counsel for Captain Paul Watson has confirmed the marine conservationist has departed Germany and is in an undisclosed location.
"Captain Watson's attorney reports he has left Germany," said Susan Hartland, Administrative Director of Sea Shepherd. We have reason to believe from a reliable source that, once in Costa Rica, the Japanese Government may have sought extradition of Captain Watson to Japan to answer charges related to obstructing their illegal whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. We have no further information and are not in touch with him. We will do our best to provide more details as we learn more. We will post any new information as it arrives and we are able to confirm its validity."
Captain Watson had been detained in Germany for 70 days despite thousands of letters of support sent to the German Ministry of Justice from the public, celebrities, politicians and other luminaries arguing for his release. He was arrested in Frankfurt on May 13th on a 10-year-old warrant from Costa Rica while en route to Cannes, France. He was being detained in Germany for extradition to Costa Rica for an alleged "violation of ships' traffic," which occurred during the 2002 filming of the award-winning documentary, "Sharkwater." The specific incident took place on the high seas in Guatemalan waters, when Sea Shepherd encountered an illegal shark-finning operation run by Costa Rican vessel, the Varadero. On order of Guatemalan authorities, Sea Shepherd instructed the crew of the Varadero to cease their shark-finning activities and head back to port to be prosecuted. While escorting the Varadero back to port, the tables were turned and a Guatemalan gunboat was dispatched to intercept the Sea Shepherd crew. To avoid the Guatemalan gunboat, Sea Shepherd then set sail for Costa Rica, where the crew uncovered even more illegal shark-finning activities in the form of dried shark fins by the thousands on the roofs of industrial buildings.
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