Watson remains in jail while Costa Rica mulls response

Sharkwater Productions photo 'OceanWarrior' crew member sprays water toward the 'Varadero I' that Watson said was fishing illegally in Guatemalan waters during the 2002 encounter.

The foreign ministry is backing away from the arrest of Capt. Paul Watson in Germany.

Carlos Roverssi, vice minister of Relaciones Exteriores y Culto, said Monday that Costa Rica is a leader in the fight against shark finning. But he declined to address the case of Watson, detained in Germany on a Costa Rican warrant.

Roverssi noted the incident that resulted in Watson being detained happened in 2002 long before the Chinchilla administration took office. He also noted that the case is in the hands of the Poder Judicial and not the executive branch.

The Poder Judicial did not respond to emailed requests for specifics. The foreign ministry would be involved in any extradition.

Watson’s Sea Shepherd Conservation Society said their founder and president remained in a German jail Monday after a judge there declined to release him. German officials want to determine if Costa Rica is ready to extradite Watson, the organization said.

“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 organization said suggesting hidden motives.

Meanwhile the International Police Agency explained in a news release why it did not issue a red notice on Watson. It did not do so, it said, because its Office of Legal Affairs was not satisfied that the request was in compliance with the agency’s constitution and rules. The agency noted that a red notice was just an alert and not a warrant. That decision took place March 2 and was conveyed to all 190 country members of the police network, it said.

The warrant was issued in Costa Rica after Watson failed to show up for a court hearing in 2006. A reporter talked to Watson via email that day, and he said he had no knowledge of the court proceeding and that he never had been served with any legal papers.

The case stems from an encounter with a Costa Rican shark fishing boat. Sea Shepherd says the encounter was in Guatemalan waters. The shark fishermen seem to claim the encounter took place on the high seas. Watson’s crew on the “Ocean Warrior” sprayed the smaller fishing boat with high pressure jets of water to interrupt their efforts.

The entire incident was recorded by a documentary filmmaker who used some of the footage in what became an

Sharkwater Productions photo
‘OceanWarrior’ crew member sprays water toward the
‘Varadero I’ that Watson said was fishing illegally in
Guatemalan waters during the 2002 encounter.

award-winning feature film, “Sharkwater.” A reporter who
viewed much of the footage concluded that the Costa Rican captain and crew got wet but that there was no damage when both boats bumped.

Watson has a reputation as an aggressive defender of sea life and has battled the Japanese whaling fleet for years.

That is why Sea Shepherd came out with suspicions of a conspiracy Monday.

“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 filed their civil suit against Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in the United States,” the organization said. “The question remains, what prompted Costa Rica to issue an arrest warrant for Captain Watson in October of 2011?” When the warrant actually was issued could not be verified independently. The Institute for Cetacean Research was set up in 1987 by Japanese whaling interests to provide a scientific veneer to the annual whale hunt.

“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,” the organization continued. “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.”
award-winning feature film, “Sharkwater.” A reporter who
viewed much of the footage concluded that the Costa Rican captain and crew got wet but that there was no damage when both boats bumped.

Watson has a reputation as an aggressive defender of sea life and has battled the Japanese whaling fleet for years.

That is why Sea Shepherd came out with suspicions of a conspiracy Monday.

“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 filed their civil suit against Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in the United States,” the organization said. “The question remains, what prompted Costa Rica to issue an arrest warrant for Captain Watson in October of 2011?” When the warrant actually was issued could not be verified independently. The Institute for Cetacean Research was set up in 1987 by Japanese whaling interests to provide a scientific veneer to the annual whale hunt.

“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,” the organization continued. “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.”

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