Saturday, August 04, 2007
Sea Shepherd Galapagos Director Sean O'Hearn-Gimenez Arrested in Ecuador
The Ecuadorian Immigration Police arrested Sea Shepherd Ecuador & Galapagos Director Sean O'Hearn-Gimenez last night in the industrialized fishing port of Manta, Ecuador.
At the time of the arrest, O'Hearn-Gimenez was with the National Environmental Police documenting the evidence of a major bust and confiscation of illegal shark fins. Although O'Hearn-Gimenez was working in partnership with the National Police, the Immigration Police removed him from the National Police headquarters and charged him with "interfering with the sovereignty of Ecuador." His visa was revoked and he was placed on a fast track to deportation.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is waiting for more details, but the move is political. Sea Shepherd has cost the shark mafia in Ecuador more than one million dollars in the last month.
O'Hearn-Gimenez's Galapagos wife and baby daughter remain in Puerto Ayora in the Galapagos. O'Hearn-Gimenez is a legal resident of the Galapagos.
This arrest follows Sea Shepherd's successful intervention against numerous illegal activities over the last two months, including the confiscation and destruction of tens of thousands of illegal shark fins and nearly one hundred thousand illegally caught sea cucumbers. In addition, Sea Shepherd has confiscated two illegal longlines in the Galapagos waters.
Less than a month ago, Sea Shepherd signed an agreement with the Ecuadorian National Police to work in cooperation to shut down poaching and smuggling operations.
On August 1, the Sea Shepherd ship Farley Mowat was ordered out of the National Park by the Ecuadorian Navy. Sea Shepherd Founder and President Captain Paul Watson and his crew are presently just outside of Ecuadorian waters and the Galapagos National Park Marine Reserve. O'Hearn-Gimenez is being detained in the headquarters of the Immigration Police. He is accompanied by Sea Shepherd lawyers and supporters.
Sea Shepherd will post more news as it becomes available.
Please send a letter to the President of Ecuador to protest this situation.
Rafael Vicente Correa
President of Ecuador
c/o Embassy of Ecuador in Washington
2535 15th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20009
Tel: (202) 234-7200
Fax: (202) 667-3482
Dear Mr. President,
I am writing to ask you the following question: Why have you arrested and deported Sea Shepherd Ecuador & Galapagos Director Sean O'Hearn-Gimenez because of his activities in exposing the illegal trade in shark fins and sea cucumbers?
Sean was working in partnership with the Ecuadorian National Police when he was arrested and ordered deported without due process of law.
Is your government going to allow the total destruction of sharks in Ecuadorian waters?
Why are you persecuting a man who has intervened against criminal smuggling operations? Why are you protecting poachers and smugglers? Have you been corrupted by the shark fin mafia and are you now working for them instead of for the people and the future heritage of Ecuador?
We had such hopes for you, Mr. President. We thought you were a man of honor and the man who would protect the Galapagos, the Amazon, and Ecuadorian wildlife for the benefit of all Ecuadorians and the world. Have you decided to sell your soul to the criminals and if so how much did they pay you? What was your price, Mr. President?
Please rescind your decree legalizing the sale of shark fins. Please invite Sean O'Hearn-Gimenez back to Ecuador and re-unite him with his wife and child.
You are the hope for the salvation of the Galapagos. If you betray the Galapagos, you betray Ecuador and you betray the human race.
I beseech you to do the right thing, Mr. President.