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. Dizzyd

    @Dentson – if we let animals like whales die just 'cuz they aren't human, then humans are the ones who will eventually be screwed!

    May 19, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. catherine

    I am proud of Paul Warson for doing all he can to prevent the death of these Sharks and other fish and animals of our ocean. It is cruel to kill these sharks just for their fins. Also, over fishing has caused a shortage of fish, and, also many of our sea animals and fish have become endangered. We depend on the ocean for food, but when our fish have gone, we will have nothing left, and what little is left, will be destroyed because the eco system has been destroyed. Food for today but not for tomorrow.

    May 20, 2012 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  3. lovemygirl

    He endangered kid's lives and was reckless. He should never be allowed to Captain a ship ever.

    May 20, 2012 at 3:28 am | Report abuse |
  4. lovemygirl

    He looks kind of like a whale.

    May 20, 2012 at 3:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. Steve

    Free Paul Watson.

    May 20, 2012 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
  6. Steve

    As go the oceans, so goes our species. This man should get a medal, not a cage.

    May 20, 2012 at 7:30 am | Report abuse |
  7. Johnny Drama

    I agree with what they are trying to do, but Captain Crunch is a toolbox that's going to get all his inept crew killed.

    May 20, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tactful

    Free Paul Watson now!!!!

    The world needs more Sea Shepherds and less $ea criminal$!!!!

    May 20, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. BarrysHypocrisy

    Throw this narcissistic idiot in jail and throw away the key. He should be treated just like any other terrorist. The only thing he cares about is stroking his monstrous ego. His brain washed "followers" are pathetic sheeple who fawn over his every action.

    Maybe if he spends a few years in jail, he'll finally figure out that he's not above the law.

    May 20, 2012 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  10. Name*Ann-Belinda Honablezh

    "Whales and Sharks" are beautiful animals, but supply and demand by some, makes. It very hard for these animals to survive. Second, there are the oil spills that are also killing them and other wild life that also depend on fish to survive.
    I say all of this because politics and greed, is what is causing the problem for people such as Watson who are making sure these laws are abided by all.
    To cut off the fins of sharks and throw them back to sea, is based on greed. Couldn't the rest of the shark meat be used to feed people? What about the outter skin, couldn't it be used to make things for people to use, especially in very icy and cold countries.
    Of course, when one sees greed, it is a self centered person and/or an industry that thinks no one is more deservant than their company. It is very sad.....keep fighting Mr. Watson, but do it legally.

    May 20, 2012 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
  11. letsbereal

    I don't care, ....there are laws...and laws are enforced....I knew he was going to get arrested one day, go outside enjoy the air and the sun, you never know when the Sea Shephard will be back on the waters NOT saving whales, because of terrible maneuvering decesion ;-)...that is a lot of bail money, you can buy a new Captain at that price.

    May 20, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  12. eatingWhales

    i like pizza

    May 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. neal

    He's a moron, how many lives did he put in danger with his antics? Put the dude out to pasture and extradite him.

    May 20, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Oski

    This guy is an eco-terrorist..a terrorist is a terrorist. He puts people's lives at risk and needs to be locked up.

    May 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jim

    Let's see – he commits a crime that, for political reasons, many governments choose NOT to prosecute. So that means that when he does it in a jurisdiction that chooses to prosecute, it is "politically motivated." Let's hope the Germans see the folly of this argument. Besides, having seen the TV show about these idiots, I am surprised they could keep their own boat afloat. They seem incompetent and deserve to be confined to land for the next few years. Whaling is wrong, but so are these fools.

    May 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20