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. Earth Time

    Go whales! Boycott Costa Rica!

    May 20, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. AngerBot

    I hope this good man is freed son so he can continue his good work.

    May 20, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • realist

      Good man? This attention mongering fool deserves to be arrested by about ten different nations for crimes committed against various different hard working people. Let him step in front of JP Morgan or Goldman Sachs or somebody who ACTUALLY commits crimes against society.

      I'm all about conservation by example. This idiot actually thinks endangering lives of innocent people is " for the good". I can only pray he ends up in a dark dingy cell in some remote prison. he deserves it.

      May 20, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rickp530

    Paul Watson should not be arrested. Paul Watson should be rewarded for his years of devotion to saving whales, sharks, and other animals. Whales are mammals. They nurse their young. Although they live in the sea, they have to surface in order to breathe. Paul Watson will not get a fair trial.

    May 20, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • realist

      Oh stop the tears!Do you clowns actually think this behavior "helps" anything? Get your priorities straight. this jerk puts innocent peoples lives in danger so he can get on TV! That's his only goal, attention. I guess his Mommy must have ignored him as a child. Probably smoked too much weed, gave him brain damage. How come HE is never the one he puts in the line of fire? Always one of his idiot conscripts.

      May 20, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • CN

      ur an idiot.

      May 21, 2012 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  4. Greek American

    South Park did an episode on this guy, very funny.

    May 20, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. thermion7

    oh brother

    May 20, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. thermion7

    His organizations methods are illegal. what a jerk... terrible show.

    May 20, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • chis adams

      WRONG his methods are perfectly legal– read the UN Charter.

      May 20, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • thermion7

      Illegally boarding a vessel then claiming it was a kidnapping? Bombarding a vessel with chemicals?

      May 20, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. chis adams

    Watson is a hero to all of humanity--- FREE PAUL !!!

    May 20, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. thermion7

    I agree with the cause... the methods are terrible.

    May 20, 2012 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Keith

    The Sea Shepherd organization are pirates and terrorists.

    May 20, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. slaveworld

    @Keith – same goes for you

    May 20, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. 327th

    I want to watch the Sea Shepherd sink and become a habitat for other fish.

    May 20, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. dan

    so we can kill pigs, cows, all kinds of birds, snakes, bugs, even people, but we cant kill whales.....

    May 20, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • krozar

      Thought the show would be interesting due to the unique nature and reality of it. However the captain had the personality of a door mat and everyone else on the ship was a whiny cry puss. THERE IS NO ROOM FOR CRYING ON THE OPEN SEAS! When I was in the Navy and two guys on the ship had a problem they couldn't reconcile, they would be woke up just after they went to sleep, put out on deck with boxing gloves, and duked it out until they couldn't stand anymore. After that there was no more silly drama. Simply no room for bleeding heart whinyness out at sea.

      May 20, 2012 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • bigdakine

      Really Dan?

      You're upset because you can't kill everything you want to kill?

      May 21, 2012 at 12:23 am | Report abuse |
    • RC Roeder

      Yep, the others are raised as food. There is no food product that uses whale. Everything we get from whale can be produced in other ways and humans mearly hunted whales in to extintion. I doubt the pig, cow or chicken has that same fate.

      May 21, 2012 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
    • MikeAinFL

      That's correct.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Phil

      Really BigDaKine....Watson is a terrorist and should be hung for his crimes. I would be happy to put one between his eyes.

      May 21, 2012 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  13. rick1948

    These whale watcher media hounds are lucky they are still alive. They interfere with ships in international waters. The captains of those ships are 100% within their legal right to protect their ship by any means. They're lucky they just haven't run up against anyone mean enough to sink them.

    May 20, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • pete

      The International Whaling Commission (IWC), an international commission currently consisting of 88 member nations, was established under the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling (ICRW) in 1946 to regulate "whaling" (the hunting of whales) in order to ensure that whales were not being over-hunted and to provide for the conservation of whale stocks. The ICRW established specific time periods that whales could be hunted, established quotas, size limits on whales that can be taken, and designated certain areas as whale sanctuaries (currently there are whale sanctuaries in Indian Ocean and Southern Ocean off Antarctica in which whaling is prohibited). The ICRW was signed by member nations in response to overzealous whaling and the vast destruction of whale stocks. Prior to and during the 1940s, whales were harvested for oil, bone, and baleen for lighting, heating oil, corsets, umbrellas, and a variety of other issues.

      Due to the fact that whale species were becoming threatened and even endangered, a moratorium on the commercial hunting of whales was signed in 1982 and went into effect in 1986. The moratorium remains in effect to date, as a three-forths majority vote is needed to overturn the moratorium.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  14. clemalum07

    Ecoterrorists should be locked up.

    May 20, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • GoLakers

      how is that ecoterrorism? not surprising coming from a clemson grad.

      May 21, 2012 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. Fritz Hohenheim

    I don't get that. In my days we used to hang pirates. Whatever happened to that?

    May 20, 2012 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
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