Created on Sunday, 13 May 2012 17:36
Written by Press Release
Captain Paul Watson Arrested In Frankfurt, Germany on Warrant Issued by Costa Rica
Paul Watson was arrested yesterday in Germany for extradition to Costa
The German police have said that the warrant for Captain Watson’s
arrest is in response to an alleged violation of ships traffic in Costa
Rica, which occurred during the filming of Sharkwater in 2002.
The specific “violation of ships traffic” incident took place on the
high seas in Guatemalan waters, when Sea Shepherd encountered an illegal
shark finning operation, run by a Costa Rican ship called the Varadero.
On order of the 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.
* UPDATE BELOW
The crew of the Varadero
accused the Sea Shepherds of trying to kill them, while the video
evidence proves this to be a fallacy. To avoid the Guatemalan gunboat,
Sea Shepherd then set sail for Costa Rica, where they uncovered even
more illegal shark finning activities in the form of dried shark fins by
the thousands on the roofs of industrial buildings.
Conservationists around the world maintain hope that the Costa Ricans
will drop the charges against Captain Watson. There is also a chance
that the charges have already been dropped, but Sea Shepherd has been
unable to confirm that with the Costa Rican officials. With Costa Rica’s
rich biodiversity, it would be a travesty for them not to stand up for
sharks, which sit at the highest levels of the food chain assuring
balance among ecological communities in the ocean.
While in jail, Captain Watson is being assisted by the European
Parliament Vice President Daniel Cohn Bendit and the European deputy
Jose Bove. Our hope is that these two honorable gentlemen can set
Captain Watson free before this nonsense goes any further. The European
Sea Shepherds have also mobilized to support Captain Watson.
As the plight of the sharks becomes more desperate, Sea Shepherd
Conservation Society has begun to outline a new shark campaign for 2012.
Julie Andersen, founder of Shark Savers and Shark Angels, has joined
Sea Shepherd to lead our global campaign to save sharks from extinction.
Sea Shepherd will use its expertise and experience, as well as media
savvy, to empower people around the world to take back their sharks – an
animal critical to their, as well as the global, environment and
Sea Shepherd is offering its assistance to countries around the world
to enforce international and local laws, end ruthless poaching, patrol
marine sanctuaries under attack, implement high tech defenses, and
empower locals through training and the provision of resources to take
on the battle. Sea Shepherd will also fight a war of public opinion,
changing everything we know about an animal most despised.
The first stop will be the South Pacific, where the team will be headed in June.
“We’ve got all the laws we need to protect sharks. Now we will
leverage our resources and expertise to help countries around the globe
enforce them. Using Galapagos as a model, we will travel wherever we are
needed - enforcing local laws while developing strategies and training
locals to defend their sharks, fueling world-wide enforcement efforts.” -
Julie Andersen, Shark Campaign Director
* UPDATE - May 14, 2012
Update on the Arrest of Captain Watson: Day 2 in Custody
Captain Watson remains in the custody of German authorities as of Monday, May 14th. A German judge in the lower courts of Frankfurt has refused to release Captain Watson, instead saying that the German court would like to confirm that Costa Rica wants Captain Watson extradited to their country. The German legal council representing Captain Watson includes Oliver Wallasch and Alexander Gruner. Sea Shepherd operatives continue to work around the clock in Europe and Latin America in order to determine the true reasons behind Costa Rica's warrant.
The warrant for Captain Watson's arrest was issued in Costa Rica in October of 2011, curiously close to the time that the Institute for Cetacean Research (ICR) filed their civil suit against Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in the United States. The question remains, what prompted Costa Rica to issue an arrest warrant for Captain Watson in October of 2011?
INTERPOL has issued a statement on their website citing that they will not publish a Red Notice seeking the arrest of Captain Watson because their Office of Legal Affairs is not satisfied that the request from Costa Rica is in compliance with INTERPOL's Constitutions and Rules. Hopefully the German courts will come to the same conclusion soon and set Captain Watson free.
As Sea Shepherd becomes increasingly more effective at protecting marine wildlife globally, the enemies of the oceans are using all their resources to stop us.
Currently Sea Shepherd is under legal attack from all parts of the globe and each case represents the very biodiversity we strive to protect. In the UK Sea Shepherd is currently battling a lawsuit brought by seafood brokers Fish & Fish regarding Bluefin Tuna.
In the United States we have the civil suit brought forth by the ICR concerning anti-whaling activities in the Southern Ocean, and now with Captain Watson's detainment in Germany (via Costa Rica's arrest warrant) which we believe stems from Sea Shepherd victories in curbing shark finning on the high seas. No matter the country or the court system, Captain Watson will not be intimidated, and he will not stop until marine life and ecosystems are given the protection they deserve.