Sea Shepherd confirms Japanese want Watson, too

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says that Paul Watson’s lawyers in Germany have confirmed that Japan also has filed an extradition request with the foreign office there.

That request was made July 19, the organization said, and followed a request from Costa Rica, where prosecutors want to bring him to trial on a 2002 incident.

“The Japanese Government is again stopping at nothing in their quest to bring an end to Captain Paul Watson’s efforts to cease their illegal whaling activities,” said Sea Shepherd. Watson and his associates harass the Japanese whaling fleet and have caused the crews to shorten their seasons in the Southern Ocean.

Sea Shepherd Conservation Society had concerns that Watson’s life would be in danger or he would be extradited to Japan, the organization said in a release. The organization quoted Watson’s lead German lawyer:

“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, the lawyer. “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.

Watson had been detained in Germany for 70 days before he fled the country. Sea Shepherd orchestrated a worldwide campaign to encourage the German officials to ignore the Costa Rican request.

Watson is facing trial here over the claims by shark fishermen that their boat, the “Varadero I,” suffered damages and crew members suffered injuries in a 2002 run-in with Watson and the much larger “Ocean Warrior.”

The seagoing encounter with the “Varadero I” was filmed and became part of the movie “Sharkwater,” The video appears to contradict the claims of the crew that the vessel suffered damage and crew members were injured. The encounter happened in Guatemalan waters, and Watson said his crew was trying to bring illegal shark finners into custody in that country.

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