There's a new strange twist in the saga of Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson, under house arrest in Germany, out on bail while awaiting extradition proceedings that could send him to Costa Rica to face charges stemming from a decade-old confrontation with illegal shark finners.
Media reports (CNN, The Local) say Watson has apparently violated terms of his bail, not reporting in to authorities this past Sunday. His whereabouts are currently unknown according to these reports.
His lawyer has told a German court that Watson has left Germany "for an unspecified destination."
In response, an official statement from the court: "Since by fleeing, Watson has shown that he cannot justify the trust placed in him, the extradition process has been restarted."
Watson has previously said that he would willingly return to Costa Rica to face the charges, but would not submit to pre-trial detention in Costa Rica as he has a $20,000+ bounty on his head, placed there by the so-called shark fin mafia, and he fears for his life. Costa Rica has guaranteed Watson's safety.
For more detail on Watson's detention, please see the links to the left.
Watson is, of course, one of the central figures in Animal Planet's Whale Wars series. TreeHugger has requests in for more information on Watson's location, and for clarification on the events in question. We'll update you as soon as we have the relevant info.
UPDATE (08:45pm July 25):
Sea Shepherd has confirmed that Paul Watson has indeed left Germany, though even the administration of Sea Shepherd seems to not know where Watson is at the moment:
“Captain Watson’s attorney reports he has left Germany,” said Susan Hartland, Administrative Director of Sea Shepherd. We have reason to believe from a reliable source that, once in Costa Rica, the Japanese Government may have sought extradition of Captain Watson to Japan to answer charges related to obstructing their illegal whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. We have no further information and are not in touch with him. We will do our best to provide more details as we learn more. We will post any new information as it arrives and we are able to confirm its validity."