The Japanese Public Prosecutor in Wakayama Prefecture has made the decision to bring an indictment against Cove Guardian and Dutch citizen Erwin Vermeulen, for assault. The prosecution plans to take this case to open court and hold a trial. Erwin is accused of pushing a Japanese marine mammal trainer while attempting to photograph the transfer of a dolphin at the Dolphin Resort Hotel. If Erwin is found guilty at trial, he could face up to two years in prison and/or a fine up to 200,000 Yen.
In order to defend Erwin and win his freedom, Sea Shepherd is being forced to spend large sums of money from our operating budget on legal fees. This move seems to be at the heart of the Japanese prosecution’s strategy.
Via Captain Paul Watson in the Southern Ocean:
We need YOUR help to succeed. If each and every Sea Shepherd supporter would donate something towards the Taiji Legal Defense Fund at www.seashepherd.org, we’ll not only be able to free Erwin, we’ll also be able to continue to keep the Cove Guardians on the ground in Taiji to openly contest and document the horrors these innocent and intelligent animals must endure. Consider this: There are over seven billion people in the world and only one of them is in jail at this very moment because he dared to oppose the horrific slaughter of dolphins. The least the rest of us can do is to help raise the money to defend Erwin and the dolphins. I will donate the first $100. Won’t you please join me? Now more than ever the Cove Guardians need your help. If we all give what we can, we will have the financial resources to stand up to Japan’s efforts to make an example of Erwin and to obstruct our campaign to end the slaughter of the dolphins in Taiji.
The anticipated trial date is January 25th. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has retained a reputable law firm and we are confident in Erwin’s defense. Please check back as more details on the case are forthcoming.
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