Thursday, 17 May 2012

Anti-whaling group leader ordered held in Germany


A German court on Monday ordered Paul Watson, the founder of marine conservation group Sea Shepherd, to remain in custody a day after his arrest on a warrant from Costa Rica.
The veteran anti-whaling campaigner, a Canadian national, was detained in Frankfurt on Sunday on charges stemming from a high seas confrontation over shark finning in 2002.
He is accused of having "put a ship's crew in danger" in the incident, a Frankfurt prosecutor said.
Watson's lawyer Oliver Wallasch said that after Monday's court hearing that his client must remain in custody until the Costa Rican extradition request is considered, adding that he did not know how long the process would take.
"My client is shocked," Wallasch said.
A media report in Australia, citing Costa Rican reports, said Watson, 61, also faced an outstanding warrant for attempted murder during the same incident.
"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," Sea Shepherd said.
The specific "violation of ships traffic" incident took place in Guatemalan waters when Sea Shepherd encountered an illegal shark finning operation, run by a Costa Rican ship called theVaradero, it added in a statement.
"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," the group said.

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