Whale Wars' Paul Watson on the run without passport

Paula Duffy's picture

Despite Whale Wars being between seasons, there is plenty of drama surrounding the Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson. Japan has entered the fray to win the prize of prosecuting him.

Unfortunately for fans of Animal Planet's Whale Wars there are no cameras filming Paul Watson's latest attempt to avoid extradition from Germany to Costa Rica where he faces ten-year old criminal charges.

Seashepherd.org confirmed news that Paul Watson skipped out on his bail. His attorney alerted the organization about his flight. The background on Costa Rica's beef is summarized here.

"I received confirmation today from Germany’s General Public Prosecutor that Japan filed an extradition request against Paul Watson on July 19th,” said Oliver Wallasch, lead German Counsel for Captain Paul Watson.

Update: Watson rumored to be under protection of Ecuador as Interpol raises the stakes.

“Germany was proceeding with Captain Watson’s extradition to Costa Rica and, once there, there is no doubt he would have been delivered into Japanese custody,” said Susan Hartland, Administrative Director for Sea Shepherd. “Upon being extradited to Japan, he would not have received a fair trial and would never have seen the outside of a prison again,” she added.

No one has confirmed whether Costa Rica will defer to the Japanese desire to put an end to Paul Watson's adventures for good, but you can't beat this for a great guessing game.

Paul Watson had to forfeit the reported $300,000 bail posted for him and leave his passport behind. How many countries will help him slip through their borders without one? A day of protest was set up for July 20 to raise awareness about his plight, but jumping bail was not on the agenda until a few days later.

It all started according to Sea Shepherd when Watson learned of the last minute maneuver by Japan. The request went to Germany to allow the Japanese to negotiate with Costa Rica for rights to Watson. His flight came quickly thereafter.

For NBA fans, it smacks of trading activity between two teams when a third team gets involved to facilitate moving a top notch player to one of the others. In this negotiation no one else is going back to the one country that loses the chance to skewer Watson.

However, there is plenty of bluster coming from Sea Shepherd about replacing Capt. Watson and continuing the real whale wars in the Southern Pacific Ocean.

Administrative Director Susan Hartland has said as much in a statement on the organization's website. It won't stop the ships from attempting to thwart efforts to kill whales, despite Japan's protests that they are conducting scientific research.

Critics of Capt. Watson say that he has yet to face justice for attacks on the high seas and that he demonstrates cowardice for doing so. He should be willing to be jailed for his cause they argue.

With Sea Shepherd's assurance that the fight will go on with or without Paul Watson, his flight from Germany looks like it is more about his individual fight against what he considers an illegal prosecution, rather than about making Japan cease prohibited whaling activities.

Image: Wikimedia Commons/David w ng

Comments

Submitted by John Tribolet (not verified) on
Paul Watson is literally a hero working tirelessly for all of mankind and ocean wildlife. He avidly follows the law and is one of the fairest, most compassionate people I know of, who shows amazing restraint and fairness under impossible opposition and situations. The govt of Japan is very dishonest and brings shame to it's people, especially the victims of Fukushima which will continue to suffer since the govt took money that was supposed to help them recover, and gave it to the whalers to continue their illegal activities. For every head of Sea Shepherd that they try to cut off, a thousand will rise in it's place. Sea Shepherd is here to stay and will forever protect our oceans.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Boycott Germany off the Planet for what they'v done to this environmental hero!!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Sea Shepherd knows that Interpol DISMISSED the Costa Rican warrant. But Germany arrested Captain Watson on May 13th despite the politically motivated warrant and decided that they would entertain the Costa Rican request on a bilateral basis — on behalf of both Costa Rica and Japan. Sea Shepard operates under the United Nations World Charter for Nature to uphold international conservation laws and directly intervene against illegal activities on the high seas. Japan is under the false impression that if they jail Captain Watson, they will halt our campaigns to protect ocean wildlife. Captain Watson had been detained in Germany for 70 days despite thousands of letters of support sent to the German Ministry of Justice from the public, celebrities, politicians and other luminaries arguing for his release of these politically motivated warrant. He was arrested in Frankfurt on May 13th on a 10-year-old warrant from Costa Rica while en route to Cannes, France. He was being detained in Germany for extradition to Costa Rica for an alleged “violation of ships’ traffic,” which occurred during the 2002 filming of the award-winning documentary, “Sharkwater.” The specific incident took place on the high seas in Guatemalan waters, when Sea Shepherd encountered an illegal shark-finning operation run by 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. The Germans should have kept their nose out of it. They care no more for animal rights than they did for human rights in the 1940s! Leonard should do some research before posting.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Human rights in the 1940s.... It is the providence of a fool to resort to nazi remarks when truly intelligent views elude them.

Submitted by Leonard Greene (not verified) on
INTERPOL did not DISMISS the warrant because they have no authority to do any such thing. What they did was decide that the warrant didn't meet their guidelines so the decided not to list the warrant in their system. The warrant is still perfectly valid. The Sea Shepherds don't operate under the UN World Charter for Nature since it doesn't give anybody any authority to do anything. The UNWCfN is a resolution passed by the General Assembly and since it wasn't passed by the Security Council it DOESN'T have any legal effect. The Germans were asked to extradite him based on Costa Rica's warrant as countries all over the world do every day. If Germany should keep their nose out of it I guess you believe that all a criminal has to do is leave the country and then they are safe from being caught.

Submitted by pasplund (not verified) on
I thought the comment was well worded myself even if it involved nazi's. But for some reason it didnt sit well with you. Why?

Submitted by pasplund (not verified) on
I thought the comment was well worded myself even if it involved nazi's. But for some reason it didnt sit well with you. Why?

Submitted by pasplund (not verified) on
I thought the comment was well worded myself even if it involved nazi's. But for some reason it didnt sit well with you. Why?

Submitted by Vincent Burke (not verified) on
Relax everyone...this Nazi talk is offensive...the issue here is the German extradition to Costa Rica (or Japan ultimately) being a politically motivated push to contain Pauls environment conservation work or a genuine attempt to uphold International law and hold a trial against a real lawbreaker. I would think that Pauls 'crime' of soaking and bumping an illegal sharkfin poaching vessel may be absolutely trivial when compared to the Japanese captain who lined up and sank the Ady Gil in 2010 AND failed to respond to a May Day from the victim crew...lets get real here, the Germans are being played by the Japanese and Paul Watson is never going to get true legal justice by allowing himself to be delivered to a 'kangaroo court'....Run fast my friend, the fight against the murderous whalers MUST go on.

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