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. brown

    Paul Watson deserves a medal not a jail sentence!

    May 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Alice

    This man is a hero. Hope he doesn't get in too much trouble and he can get back to business.

    May 20, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dscon

    good sue the crap outta that pompus liberal.

    May 20, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nodack

      I take it you are in favor of illegal fishing under the guise of "research". You don't care if all the fish are fished into extinction?

      Now you will say I'm crazy, but I bet I have done a lot more research into it than your zero research into it.

      May 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Dscon – nice way to take protecting wildlife and mark it as something political. If such action is liberal then are we to assume you, perhaps a conservative, believe unnecessary killing of sharks for only their fins is okay? So, liberal means save, conservative means kill? Why must we politicize nature and the environment, pitting party against party? It's stupid. While you may not appreciate the passion these people have for protecting endangered, at risk or unnecessarily slaughtered animals, every creature they protect helps to sustain numbers for the future, including sustainable fishing. This is not a liberal or conservative or libertarian or communist activity. It is a humanitarian effort.

      May 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MobyDick

    I ate whale once in Iceland. Tasted like liver.

    May 20, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dawn Brainard

    He is a terrorist. As a terrorist he deserves the full force of the law to prevent any future antics.
    He is judging different cultures and governments and attempting to force his believes onto them through terroristic attacks.
    He is not better than Bin Laden.

    May 20, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • independentthinker

      Take your meds,,,,your great George Washington was a TERRORIST! Some times the terrorist is the hero. But your simple mind cannot comprehend that. Has Paul ever killed anyone? NOPE!

      May 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • doug

      Dawn Brainless, you are a moron. Bin Laden? Really? A mass murderer compared to a man who has saved a few whales and cost a few fisherman some money? Were you born that stupid, or have you had to pay someone to make you that dumb?

      May 20, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. independentthinker

    We support you Paul! Keep up the great work! I love how people like the trow around the word "terrorist" now. George Washington and the founding fathers were TERRORISTS too! Get out tomorrow Paul and get back to doing what you do best, saving our oceans!

    May 20, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Chris C

    Activism is great, but if all you do is break the law than that is not activism, that is called being a criminal. MLK changed the world without breaking the law. I just saying. Stick your neck out and someone will take your head.

    May 20, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      MLK and his supporters sure broke something to get all those water cannons and tear gas fire at them....

      May 20, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • doug

      chris C. You truly are ignorant. MLK broke laws. He broke them on purpose because they were unjust laws. Laws requiring "colored" waterfountains and "colored only" lunch counters were broken constantly. Laws requiring segregation were commonplace in the South, and would still be, if they weren't broken. Some laws just aren't worth the paper they are written on.

      May 20, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JonahBC

    Hat tip to you Captain Watson!... your 40 years of determination to protect our beloved whales is a legacy that British Columbian's hold dear to our hearts.... keep doing what you do.....

    May 20, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Steve

    What a load of degenerates here. How you guys can compare this man to Bin Laden is beyond me. This man has not killed anyone. Bringing illegal fishing practices to the spotlight is his only crime. I imagine the degenerates here calling for him to go to jail are industry lobbyist or just plain unintelligent.

    May 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. j shafer

    i think we should wait till the last whale is dead ..the last tuna .. then we can do what ??????

    May 20, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. pinkfloyd43

    I agree with quite a few others here as this person is a hazard at sea. As someone who spent a long time in the USN I can see many times where he put both the ship, and moreover, the entire crew in danger with his zealous behavour! He is called a Captain but lacks basic skills for being such. I have emailed this group about this before after I had seen things happen aborad his vessel with never a reply back as my comments were directed to the Captain of the vessel and how he is dangerous!

    May 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      I think the Sea Shepard has put far less people in danger than the USN pinkfloyd.

      May 20, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. voiceofreason

    Why is this fool allowed to capitan a ship, Remove his lincense

    May 20, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      The dbags out there burning bunker fuel, too!

      May 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Schwendler

      Great idea. He can teach you English.

      May 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill Duke

      I'm surprised that he hasn't managed to kill some of his volunteer crew members long ago. Some of the decisions he makes are astoundingly amateurish and dangerous.

      May 20, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Missing Link

      What is a lincense, voiceoftreason?

      May 20, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chris C

    Its the lobbiest and special interest that get laws changed not sabatours and thugs who disabled others boats on the high seas. If Bob Barker put all that money into legal means such as a lobby group or special interest pac than I would dare say it would save more whales. What is so special about the whales? Why is he not worried about all the other fishing that goes on everyday all over the world. Fishing is legal. Foul my prop and I'll have your butt extradited too. If he owes up to all the choas he has caused and goes about it properly I would support his cause. He is just misguided it seems.

    May 20, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • stan

      foul your prop? i doubt they would foul your prop with the steel and concrete they used to reinforce the bow of the farley mowat with. that was done for ramming other vessels. these people should be sunk on the high seas.

      May 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Andrew

    Tyranny from Krautland: What a surprise.

    May 20, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill Duke

      Honoring an extradition from another country on a major charge is hardly tyranny.

      May 20, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chris C

    Its the lobbiest and special interest that get laws changed not sabatours and thugs who disabled others boats on the high seas. If Bob Barker put all that money into legal means such as a lobby group or special interest pac than I would dare say it would save more whales. What is so special about the whales? Why is he not worried about all the other fishing that goes on everyday all over the world. Fishing is legal. Foul my prop and I'll have your hiney extradited too. If he owes up to all the choas he has caused and goes about it properly I would support his cause. He is just misguided it seems.

    May 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter Griffin

      What is "lobbiest" supposed to mean? Learn English before you post things on the internet.

      May 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duh

      Sounding rummy are we?

      May 20, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20