Sea Shepherd's Paul Watson Arrested in Germany (UPDATED)

© Eric Cheng/Sea Shepherd

Paul Watson, founder of Sea Shepherd, was arrested in Frankfurt, Germany on Saturday, on a 10 year old* warrant issued by Costa Rica.

The warrant stems from an incident that occurred while filming the documentary Sharkwater, in 2002. Sea Shepherd gave their account of the events on their site:

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.  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.

BBC News reports Watson is due in court this morning. More info when we have it.

And, of course, if you've got no idea who Paul Watson is watch this:

* UPDATE 1: Following up on this, while the event in question leading to the warrant occured a decade ago, it's unclear whether the warrant itself is that old or has just been issued. We may have read a bit too much between the lines in initially reporting that and are attempting to follow up and get clarification. Again, more when we know it.

UPDATE 2: We've got some more info on Watson's arrest via Sea Shepherd. Apparently the warrant was issued in October 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." Watson is still being held by German authorities as they investigate the merits of the Costa Rican warrant, and determine whether they will extradite him.

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.

Tags: Activism | Whales

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