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. Dr. Deena

    As usual, people who know absolutely nothing about what is happening to our marine environment have decided to post like they are experts in the field. Spend a few months on board one of the vessels trying to keep our seas vibrant & productive and chances are you'll change your minds & become supporters of people like Paul Watson. I don't always agree with his methods, but his mission & goals are truly deserving of our support.

    May 18, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. combatkelly

    @Delia: I have the right to make my opinions known as you do yours.. Unlike you I am not "liberal " enough to tell you where to go and what to think. If that means I have "conservative " values,good for me.

    May 18, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phil Tomera, M.D.

      Combat: you have no morals. You are bitter and a coward who hides behind anonymity.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • EatPoopDummy

      I'm with Combat Kelly on this one Delia....The only argument you have is that someone else has an opposing one

      May 18, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • EatPoopDummy

      That's the pot calling the kettle black Phil

      May 18, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Delia

      Combat: No, you don't. You have no rights. You're too ignorant to have rights.

      May 19, 2012 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. Joe

    The alleged incident happened 10+ years ago, isn't this well beyond any reasonable statute of limitations?

    May 18, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  4. freedog008

    Watson is nothing more than a terrorist of the sea. He and his crew all need to be thrown in the slammer or torpedoed. Personally, I would prefer the latter.

    May 18, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phil Tomera, M.D.

      Freedog: And you are a peace-loving individual who would torpedo someone and throw them to the sharks? Do you see any contradictions in what you've said?

      May 18, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sandy Backstrum

      @Freedog008: Terrorist? You sound like the terrorist, wanting to see someone killed for trying to protect the world where you live. If you're such a big, brave man, why don't you have the courage to actually put your real name on the post instead of some stupid pseudonym. Coward.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. fearmonger

    The crew and Captain of the Sea Shepard should be held accountable for when they do wrong. I have seen their actions in motion and I'm sorry they are the aggressors. As much as I want to have whaling and over fishing to end I can not support their actions. Personal accountability is at stake here. Can't play by the rules then be prepared to face the consequences. Sorry. Law > Anarchy Man > Animals

    May 18, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ivan

    Paul Watson is one of a kind. He is a nature savior.

    May 18, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. combatkelly

    @ Doc.Tomera. Coward ? No morals ? Bitter ? Me ? No Doc. YOU.

    May 18, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • EatPoopDummy

      He isn't a real doc......he's probably a chiropractor or something worthless like that

      May 18, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Toots

      Worthless, a chiropractor or something like that? Really Poop? And what are you, a "sandwich artist?"

      May 19, 2012 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. combatkelly

    Fine bunch of " liberal minded " folks here. Do you know what that word means ? If so you choose to disregard the meaning when it helps you push YOUR agenda upon others. And then YOU have the nerve to name call. What a bunch of hypocritical cretins.

    May 18, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      Combat Kelly: you're so full of hate. Such an ugly person. Didn't your mother love you?

      May 19, 2012 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ferg

    Paul Watson is a thief and a charlatan

    May 18, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      In your warped dreams, Ferg.

      May 19, 2012 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. Arne Sigurdson, Earth Mammals United

    When you go into foreign waters, you'd better watch your step. That's all I gotta say.

    May 19, 2012 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. Ferg

    I met Paul Watson on a Christian Dating site. He said he was only there to meet whales and that "IZ WUNTS TEH SECHS WIH WHURLES". He then sent me nude pictures of himself covered in whale lard. It's all very true and I'm emailing the photos to CNN right now.

    May 19, 2012 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
  12. b dog

    Should we allow people to run people off roads or destroy their offices/equipment etc. if we disagree with their business model or belief system? I hate whaling, but also abhor the concept of anarchy/vigilantism.

    May 19, 2012 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • larry

      Have you ever watched "Whale Wars?" Whales can't go to court or write legislation or sign treaties. Men filled with greed and lacking humanity are murdering these and other magnificent animals. It is immoral to kill these peaceful animals and it is moral to stop it by whatever means necessary!

      May 19, 2012 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Just_Da_Facts

      That is the most RIDICULOUS comparison I've ever read!!!

      May 19, 2012 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Prometheus

      When the people who began our movement towards a nation separate from England dumped tea into the you think they had 'permission'? Was it LEGAL?

      Civil action and taking a stand are only as legal/illegal/important/relevant as the majority deems it. AND....I am not talking about your boss/the state/the government/law enforcement.....

      May 19, 2012 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Mitch next season you'll give up your job and income to join him right. Be looking forward to seeing you on the tele. You and the other losers.

      May 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Maria

    The irony, the government of Costa Rica wants to extradite Captain Paul but denied the extradition of a costarican Doc pedophile to the U.S, and he is free, practicing medicine!!!!!!

    May 19, 2012 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. ernie

    I think these people on the Sea Shepherd, and their group ,should be nominated for the
    Nobel Peace Prize, and be honored for the heroes that they are. Killing whales is tragic, inhumane,
    cruel and unnecessary.

    May 19, 2012 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  15. Lisa

    I am astounded at the ignorance displayed in these comments. Listening to ten minutes of airtime propaganda does not make you an expert on conservation, martime law or the ecology of our planet. Typically, those who fail to educate themselves sprout the sort of garbage we see here which five minutes on google can easily prove false. Oh, and of course if all else fails, resort to personal attacks or wishing violence on others. Get real people. Sea Shepherd crews do what they do because they believe in the cause, not because they are brainwashed by anyone. Paul Watson is targeted because he dares to oppose what is wrong and the same can be said for many influential figures in history who were vilified in their time simply for going against the status quo. Paul Watson cannot be guaranteed a fair trial if extradited to Costa Rica, and for those of you who insist on sprouting your mundane rubbish about human rights I suggest you learn a little more about that truth before you support such a politically movitivated action.

    May 19, 2012 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      Paul is targeted because his actions are illegal and he endangers peoples lives.

      May 19, 2012 at 3:50 am | Report abuse |
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