Captain Paul WatsonInterpol yesterday announced it has issued a ‘red notice’ to its member nations for Sea Shepherd president and founder, Captain Paul Watson. This action occurred after Costa Rica renewed its request in the form of revised paperwork to Interpol seeking Captain Watson’s detention or arrest with the intent of extradition to Costa Rica.

Captain Watson was arrested in Frankfurt on May 13th on a 10-year-old warrant from Costa Rica while en route to Cannes, France. He forfeited his bail and departed Germany on approximately July 22nd after being held there under house arrest for 70 days, and is now in an unknown location.  Captain Watson was being detained in Germany for extradition to Costa Rica for a previously alleged “violation of ship traffic,” which reportedly occurred during the 2002 filming of the award-winning documentary, “Sharkwater.”

According to Interpol, the revised charge is now “‘causing a danger of drowning or of an air disaster’ in connection with the use of a water cannon in the April 2002 incident.” However, anyone who’s viewed the documentary can clearly see the charges are bogus.  The water cannon Captain Watson allegedly used to stop the illegal shark finners never reached the wheelhouse, thereby having no possibility of interfering with their safe navigation, nor were there any aircraft overhead at the time so as to potentially cause an ‘air disaster.’  Captain Watson was requested by the Guatemalan government to stop shark-finning poachers in the act of finning sharks, and that is what he tried to do. Then suddenly, corrupt political forces intervened to turn the tables on his efforts and instead charge him with wrongdoing.

In a highly unusual move, the Interpol notice ties Sea Shepherd to Captain Watson in its documentation. Legal counsel for Sea Shepherd states this is proof the falsified charges and Costa Rican warrant are politically motivated and the result of collusion between Costa Rica and Japan.

“The elevation of the attack against our organization and our founder, Captain Watson, is not unexpected,” said Susan Hartland, Administrative Director of Sea Shepherd. “Costa Rica has been acting as a puppet for Japan throughout this case and we expect that to continue,” she said.  “Japan is driving this effort in retaliation for our successful campaigns to stop them from whaling in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.  We’ve cost them millions of dollars and exposed their shame to the world because of their refusal to stop the slaughter of whales in an established sanctuary under the lie and loophole of ‘research.’”

“There has been much misinformation in the media about this case and it’s time for truth to prevail,” added Hartland.  “Unlike other countries, it is not a crime in Germany to forfeit one’s bail.  Germany is not seeking Captain Watson’s extradition and he has committed no crime in that country…or anywhere. The warrant for his arrest in Germany is for extradition and tied solely to the bogus charges being made by Costa Rica.  Sea Shepherd fully supports Captain Watson and is at work with our international teams to resolve this politically motivated battle,” said Hartland.

Background:

•  An Interpol ‘red notice’ is not an international arrest warrant.  It merely heightens awareness of the existing Costa Rican warrant in the form of a notice to its member nations. Member nations may or may not abide by the notice at their discretion; it is not a warrant in itself.

•  The specific incident in question took place in Guatemalan waters, when Sea Shepherd encountered an illegal shark-finning operation run by the 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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