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. miss manager

    None of you know what terrorist means. Watch too much FOX News and don"t think for yourselves. If people like Paul Watson did not give a crap about our oceans then we would be in big trouble. Stop thinking about yourselves just once and see what we are doing to our planet.

    May 18, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tha Chikin

      THANK YOU!!

      May 18, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      So, does terrorism only apply to Americans? I mean are you saying he can scare and attack people of other countries and it is ok? Because that is exactly what he is doing. I don't want ocean creature to be hurt, but to support his actions is wrong. He is endangering humans. Period.

      May 18, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Language

      YES!

      May 20, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Marie R.

    These people are extremely brave for putting their lives on the line to try and stop the exploitation of life in our world's oceans. I have met Capt. Watson and find him to be very calm even under the most stressful situations and I can't imagine he would do anything that had the smallest chance of bringing harm anyone, even if they were doing something immoral like cutting the fins off of living sharks and then throwing them back into the water to die a slow, painful death. All just to make some stupid and extremely expensive soup that isn't even that good. He's one of the good guys, and if he is a terrorist them I am a supporter of terrorism for donating money to Sea Shepherds.

    May 18, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jana

      Amen sister......Love you!!!! ❤

      May 18, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • bgjtenn

      o.k., then..you are a supporter of terrorists.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:40 am | Report abuse |
  3. mikey_t

    Like to say I feel sorry for him, but I don't. Only surprised it's taken so long.

    Hope the Japanese send a few of their naval vessels to run into his boats this year. Oops, sorry.

    May 18, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Oski

    This guy is a terrorist, albeit an "eco-terrorist"...his 'show' shows them attacking other ships with acid and rocks. He needs to go to jail...he is a criminal...

    May 18, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • miss manager

      get your facts straight before spewing your crap, the so called acid you say they throw is a eco-friendly chemical if you can call it that, that makes the ship smell and the whales useless for consumption by the Japanese, even though they say it is for research.

      May 18, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kim

      I agree. Violence against violence is never the answer.

      May 18, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tha Chikin

      The so called "acid" is basically rotten butter. It is smells horrible and is meant to be a nuisance and clear the decks of the other ship. In essence stopping the killing of whales. You guys are lucky Paul Watson is peaceful... if it was up to me, all those whaling ships would be sent to the bottom of the ocean.

      May 18, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • You're Wrong

      Ugh, so very wrong. Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd crew, and others who fight for animals are all heros.

      May 18, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yakobi

      Idiot, butyric acid is about as harmful as citric acid.

      May 18, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • get it right

      Butyric acid is an extremely weak acid that works only by stinking to hell. It doesn't cause any damage whatsoever. It simply smells like vomit. Nobody throws rocks either. Get over yourself Oski and realize the demonstrations are designed to stop the activity, not hurt people or damage vessels. Nobody eats whale meat in Japan now anyway. Nobody likes it. It is fed to schoolchildren who can't say no.

      May 18, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • okc

      Thank you................yes he should, the people he attacks need to be more agressive in their own defence

      May 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. carole stengel

    I think Paul Watson deserves a medal!!! I don't see anyone else risking their ships and crew in order to save those magnificent whales,sharks and any other of God's creatures!!!!!!! God Bless you Paul>>>> keep up the GREAT work!!!

    May 18, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • TERI

      I AGREE!!!!!!! LEAVE GOD'S CREATURES ALONE!!!!!!!!!!!!! LEAVE THE WHALES ALONE!!!!!

      May 18, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • okc

      Religous fanatic...........thisisjust evolution..........we can and should do anythingwe want. If the whalemis adead end evolutionary string well, then sobe it.

      May 20, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • bgjtenn

      maybe not a medal, but maybe metal, as in lead.

      May 21, 2012 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  6. qwert

    "Star"... "Eco Terrorist"... totamto tomahto right?

    May 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dao

    many humans (and governments) treat animals and other creatures like dirt. good for him; apparently he is good at it. i am glad to have someone like watson around. the cost of what industry is doing to the planet is immense! and i used to be republican. that was before theft and plundering was on the daily agenda. i have an excellent good job but sometimes it would be nice to take time off and do the right thing for the planet! naah, lets make some money!

    May 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Chelsea

    have any of you self-righteous bleeding hearts done anything to help the homeless people or the unemployed in this country?

    This idiot is a self-righteous egomaniac, and he not above the law, just like the rest of us.

    May 18, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • non seqeteur

      Homeless people and the unemployed have the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Nobody starves for lack of food in the USA. Obesity and wealth are inversely related. Whales have no rights in many waters and I admire those who stand up for them. The law stands up for people.

      May 18, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • ghostrider1327ut

      Flipper if wasn't for some of the homeless you see out there guys like Watson would have been able to succeed, so you see the bigger picture

      May 18, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ni hao

    save the whales but continue eating cows

    May 18, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • se123

      yes that's right! I eat cow which we can bread an produce more. There's no shortage of cows and more than likeyly there will never be a shortage of cows. The same can't be said for whales

      May 18, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. gordon

    I had always supported there effort (also financial) until I had the unfortunate meeting with one of it's crew. When it comes to Whales, Sharks, and other species we are ok but there ultimate goal is the stopping of all live harvesting from our seas that is rediculas. Unless you are willing to give up your Lobster, Salmon, and other food from the sea they need to know there are limits.
    Just a reminder it is a shame that some activist start out with good intentions many do get greedy. I still support a few groups but no longer Paul Watson.

    May 18, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • bu hao

      Gordon, the sea is rapidly being emptied of the very animals you cited: salmon, lobster as well as most tuna. Read up on Atlantic Cod. You'll see they're gone. They were fished out several years ago. Try Atlantic bluefin tuna in a search. Humans are incapable of conserving. It's take as much as you can all the time. That's a bitter pill to take.

      May 18, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • gordon

      No hoa I for one know how we must be stewards of our planet more than most. As to the effect of rapists of not only of our seas but to our land I have seen first hand. I have also seen how good hatred people have been used to exploit charities for there own benefits. We have investigators who find out what organizations are legitimate or we do not find. If you knew the truth it would make you ill. We have grown so quickly in such a short time and are learning hopefully not to slow. Remember as Americans we have done more in this ariea than any other country and have left menu of our own people to suffer for it.

      May 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  11. St Xavier

    It's all about MONEY PEOPLE, when the shark fin's are gone it may be a bady part of yours you may find one night while walking home from a friends place you may be asked to give up a foot or two, even a taste EAR will do MMMMMMMMMMMMMM FOOT or even EAR soup. money corrupts every thing.

    May 18, 2012 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. cc

    I've watched this show and Watson and his crew are simply out for themselves only. whatever publicity they can get increases donations and they also want the fame. Rules only apply to others in their minds. They endanger people and are confrontational to the point of stupidity. They board other people's boats but get all in a snit when the same is done to them. They try to disable the boats of others (although they suck at it!) but cry "foul" when it happens to them. They are so obnoxiously self-righteous that I start rooting for the whalers instead of the whales!!!

    May 18, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Flipper

    Just donated 35 dollars to the cause. Who do we think we are just killing everything in sight. We kill animals in the sky, in the water on land, we are monsters on this planet.

    oh chelsea....so sorry about the homeless and unemployed...at least they are not harpooned and dragged on a boat, at least their limps are not cut off for some stupid soup.

    Please donate money to their cause please.....

    May 18, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ANDY B

    this guy is a punk. they constantly break the law and interupt business. no hippies you do not have the right to tell other countries what rules you deem fair, no matter how much you loved free willy

    May 18, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • bu hao

      Really, when the Japs and Taiwanese longliners and drift netters have captured enough fish right off of US shores to the point of commercial extinction, will you think it's ok to tell them to bugger off? Did you know oyster harvests in the Chessapeake are way down over the past several years due to exploding numbers of cownose rays? Why are they exploding? There aren't enough sharks to keep the rays in check. Feel like eating oysters? Sorry. It's a free-for-all out there and nobody has the right to stop the shark finners, cod exterminators or whalers (according to you).

      May 18, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tha Chikin

      What you don't get is: it is about conservation. If it is a free-for-all ALL the time, there won't be anything left. Unfortunately it IS a free-for-all. When it comes to shark finning they take the shark's fins and toss the carcass back in the water. That is wasteful... it needs to stop. There are PLENTY of animals that are no longer on this planet because us stupid humans didn't set any rules down, or had someone to say "enough". Yeah, you could argue Darwinism all day long but, if we were not here, those that are now extinct, would still be here.

      That said... why do you care? Are you a shark fin soup salesman or something?

      May 18, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. HeyHey

    He tries to enforce UN laws that have no jurisdiction. He is in fact a terrorist, and a reckless seaman at that

    May 18, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • okc

      Thank you....yes he is........

      May 20, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
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