Bail set for 'Whale Wars' star in extradition fight
Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson faces charges in Costa Rica stemming from a sea confrontation in 2002.
May 18th, 2012
02:54 PM ET

Bail set for 'Whale Wars' star in extradition fight

The German justice system will entertain a Costa Rican request to extradite controversial Sea Shepherd conservationist and "Whale Wars" star Paul Watson, but he can post bail while the matter is considered, a Frankfurt court ruled Friday.

Bail for Watson who faces what his organization and attorney allege are politically motivated charges over a 2002 confrontation at sea with Costa Rican fishermen was set at 250,000 euro ($318,000), Frankfurt high regional court spokesman Ingo Nohre said.

Watson, 61, intends to post it Monday, his group said.

Watson, whose attempts to disrupt Japanese whalers at sea gained fame through Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars” TV show, was detained last weekend at the Frankfurt airport after Costa Rica issued an international request for this arrest.

Costa Rican authorities allege that Watson’s crew aboard Sea Shepherd’s Ocean Warrior ship endangered a Costa Rican fishing vessel during a confrontation off Guatemala’s coast, according to the Frankfurt court.

The court ruled Friday that Germany will consider the request, and that Costa Rica will have 90 days to make its case. The German Ministry of Justice then will decide whether to extradite Watson.

The U.S.-based Sea Shepherd, which denies the allegations, has urged supporters through its website and social media to write to German officials, arguing that the charges have less to do with law than with Watson’s anti-conservationist enemies, and that it doubts he would get a fair trial.

“As Sea Shepherd becomes increasingly more effective at protecting marine wildlife globally, the enemies of the oceans are using all of their resources to stop us,” the group said in a statement. “…  (The extradition request) we believe stems from Sea Shepherd victories in curbing shark finning on the high seas.”

Thousands appear to have written to German officials so far, Sea Shepherd ship operations officer Peter Hammarstedt said, citing anecdotal evidence, including supportive e-mails the group received.

Hammarstedt said the Ocean Warrior found the Costa Rican crew killing sharks for their fins in Guatemalan waters in 2002, and it initially had permission from Guatemalan authorities to stop it and tow the vessel into port.

The Ocean Warrior used water cannons on the fishing vessel in an effort to stop it, but “there were no injuries and no physical damage to any ship,” Hammarstedt said.

The Ocean Warrior succeeded in stopping the ship, but Guatemalan authorities eventually asked Watson to release it, Hammarstedt said.

The confrontation is detailed in part of a 2007 documentary, “Sharkwater,” Hammarstedt said.

soundoff (535 Responses)
  1. bg

    Paul Watson strikes me as an egomanic of the worst kind. I hope he goes to jail and the riduculous Whale War show gets cancelled.

    May 20, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Mike

    Paul Watson is a champion of a good cause. What cause have you taken up lately?

    May 21, 2012 at 12:08 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • CN

      UR a fool!! Hes a terrorist, if i were on one of those ships, i'd have killed him already

      May 21, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joe the Plumber

    Stopping people from illegally hunting endangered species is not "Eco-terrorism". Most people don't realize that if we don't protect endangered species, many of which are an important part of the food chain, humans will eventually wind up on that list.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:10 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • michael

      Great!!! there are too many of us.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
  4. Everett

    It is sad that humans believe it is okay to hunt every last animal into extinction.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • CN

      u don't know much about extinction..are u stupid? 90 percent off all living things have gone extinct and u think hunans did that???? School has failed u

      May 21, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. Evangelicide

    Funny how this man confronts whalers head on yet people on this board still denounce him as some whiny tree hugger type.

    I'd also like to remind you all that, while his actions may be illegal, they are not "piracy." He's not stealing anything, he's merely infringing upon behavior that is actually criminal. If whales are endangered, it is illegal to kill them. It is THAT simple. I'm glad someone has the integrity and moral conviction to stand up for what is right.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:56 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Phil

      Could you please cite the law stating that whaling is illegal. Otherwise get an education hugger.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  6. Ituri

    Nothing like supporting piracy and sea-oriented terrorism because you like a certain animal.

    These tactics are NOT effective at ending whaling. Dipllomacy and negotiation has ended 98% of the whaling across the world, and it will end the last remnants of it. This man is just an attention seeker reveling in the riches of idiots who donate to his massive fortunes, which he spends with wild abandon. He breaks the laws of many countries in the process of demonstrating his extremist ideology.

    May 21, 2012 at 1:19 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • 50GreenDodge AZ

      What he said.

      May 21, 2012 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. Jen

    Stupid pieces of crap animal killers. This world is such crap. Anyone defending a living creature is automatically considered an eco-terrorist. The U.s military bombs Afghani children and they are considered heroes. Something is seriously wrong here,

    May 21, 2012 at 4:05 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • dc3219

      The U.S. military didn't put it on TV and make $$$ at it.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      You're right. The world is crap so why don't you leave and make it better?

      May 21, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  8. mumus

    He is a terrorist (pirate in this case), just like osama bin laden was! He should be locked up and his ship confiscated.

    May 21, 2012 at 6:45 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. dc3219

    I don't know how someone can dislike George Bush and like this guy at the same time. If you ran around forcing what you believed right on other people making $$$ all alone the way most people would say your a horrible person.

    May 21, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Prix

    If you watch the show, you've seen how they physically endanger everyone they come close to. Despite using only "water cannons", they have no right to just pull along side any vessel and blast away. These guys should have their vessels sunk!

    May 21, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Jim Fike

    Paul Watson is a focused, real, compassionate lover of life. He cares, he protects, he leads by example, and inspires others to become active to make a strong difference. For anyone that thinks of Mr. Watson as non positive in any way is not only insance, but it shows the true nature of the person trying to attack him. In my opinion Mr. Paul Watson is a hero, a patriot, and one of my favorite leaders in the world. It's one thing to talk about doing things, paper shuffling vs. actually risking your life to protect beautiful living creatures against the terrible greed that exists around the world. It's an honor to stand behind, help, protect, and lend a hand to Mr. Watson as he battles these greedy self interested pigs that have no respect for the world or anything in it.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. GeorgeBos95

    Extradite him to Costa Rica. I hear the weather's nicer down there than in Germany. Maybe they'll lock him up for a while and make the point to others who behave as irresponsibly.

    I've seen the program ... he's an arrogant, self-righteous vigilante who can rationalize away anything he does.

    In other words, he's dangerous.

    May 21, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Larry

    I'm a conservationist, but I'm opposed to violence and piracy and that's just what Sea Shepard demonstrates in its shows. They've repeatedly interfered with the lawful actions of other boats on the high seas, used passive-aggressive tactics to stop actions with which they disagree and put other vessels and crews in mortal danger. They hat symbol is a variant of the infamous pirate skull an crossbones. They've even showed their crews attempting to board other vessels at sea. That's a clear definition of piracy and those involved should be punished just as pirates of old - hanging from the yardarm.

    May 21, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mr. Fusion

      Calling them "pirates" just show you don't know what a pirate is.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Wow, I wasn't really a fan of his, but reading lame comments like "hanging from the yardarm." really makes me want to support this guy. You are a moron.

      May 22, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Domesticated Primate

    At least they were using water cannons on the shark-poaching pinheads. If the Ocean Warrior or Sea Shepherd had been using regular cannons then they'd only have to deal with them once (and the rest of us wouldn't have to hear the any whining about being sprayed with some water and money wouldn't be wasted on this farcical witch hunt).

    May 21, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • lightbluecollar

      Somebody should use a cannon on Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd.

      May 22, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MJB

    I've seen all of the "Whale Wars" Antarctic seasons, plus the recent failed "campaign" against the people of the Faeroe Islands. This justice for Paul Watson is long overdue. His goals might be laudable to many in some instances, but his tactics are violent and endanger the human lives of those trying to make a living to feed their families. He claims to enforce international law but really only respects laws he makes up in his megalomaniacal mind. Time for Mr. Watson to do some time.

    May 21, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • A. Whale

      More violence, please.

      May 21, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
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