Report by Captain Paul WatsonThe good news on Sea Shepherd activists Allison Lance-Watson and Alex Cornelissen is that our lawyer Mr.Isao Sohma has negotiated with the Prosecutor in Wakayam Prefecture Japan a release from jail for both. Their release, on Tuesday, December 9th, is dependant on the condition that Sea Shepherd provide immediate payment of the following fines: 500,000 yen for Allison and 300,000 yen for Alex. This works out to around $5,000US for Allison and $3,000US for Alex for a total of $8,000. As today is the 5th in Japan, we have three days to raise the funds.
When you think about it, this works out to $533.00 for every dolphin they saved from slaughter! This is an adopt a dolphin program that has real practical results.
This was the message that I received from our lawyer this morning:
"The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society must send a payment of Five hundred thousand yen and Three hundred thousand yen, before Mrs. Watson and Mr. Cornelissen will be released from the police office respectively. The above conditions must be completed by the 9th of next week. Otherwise, the Prosecutor will put them on trial for imprisonment.
If they are indicted, the trial will begin. In this case, it will take a month or so. How to fight or justify your activities at court is another matter. An expected judgment would be for instance, one year imprisonment with suspended sentence for three years, I think.
If the fines are paid, the prosecutor has agreed that they will not serve any time.
It wouldn't be so easy for a foreigner to get bailed because of lack of money or probability of escape."
It is hard to imagine that such heavy fines can be imposed for the "crime" of saving dolphins. On the positive side, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society campaign has brought this annual slaughter of 22,000 dolphins to the attention of the international media and the hunt is now being questioned for the first time in Japan. This has been the highest profile and most aggressive campaign ever mounted to protect the dolphins and small whales of Japan. There is no question that the fines are political and that Allison and Alex are political prisoners. They did not commit a crime for material gain, they committed the "crime" of "forced interference with commerce" to protect lives and they were successful.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society intends to continue our opposition to this cruel and needless slaughter until we achieve the cessation of the killing. This is an important campaign with the lives of tens of thousands of dolphins and small whales at stake.
If everyone reading this could please send a donation, it does not matter how small, to the Taiji Defense Fund, it will serve to assist that Alex and Allison will be freed before the holidays and will not have to remain in jail for months awaiting a trial that could send them to prison in Japan for up to three years.
|Your donation can be sent to:||Sea Shepherd |
P.O. Box 2616
Friday Harbor, Wa 98250
(Please make checks payable to Sea Shepherd.) or for credit card donations - please refer to our form on line at www.seashepherd.org/donate.html
or send in the card number with expiration date to the above P.O. Box.
Thank-you for caring and helping us to release these two courageous and dedicated volunteers.