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. stephen

    the world is a vampire, da na na na.....

    May 18, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Chelsea

    paul watson IS the rich.

    May 18, 2012 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chelsea

    somali pirates tackle the rich too.

    May 18, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Runnerguy

    I watched "Whale Wars" once and was disgusted that Animal Planet would even host such an extremist, wealthy or not. All those on here who support this guy.........please note if he had his way, being a vegan would be mandatory by federal law and stepping on an ant would land you in jail for murder.

    This guy is an extremist NUT and should be treated accordingly.

    May 18, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony Paceti

      @Runner Guy. Yeah, right. And the republicans know absolutely nothing about being extremist nuts. Runnerguy? What a pathetic, self-aggrandizing moniker.

      May 18, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dot8

    This is an act of war, send in our troops to rescue Mr. Watson.

    May 18, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Fred Hamburg

    Paul Watson has the right idea. Governments are all in bondage to billionaires who are allowed to pollute our waters and destroy our lands. We cannot look to the government to save this world. We must rely on people like Paul Watson. Him and a few others are out there trying to save our world, and you poor deluded souls who can't see past FOX news whine and spew your hatred. Instead of running your mouths, why don't you get off of your fat duffs and actually do something constructive. No one really wants to hear your garbage anyway.

    May 18, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dan

    Free Paul Watson. He's one of a few brave people who will not allow the billionaires to destroy our world. Germany, keep your nose out of it. It is NONE of your business.

    May 18, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. lucidguy

    Lock this guy up already. All he does is make it harder for men to bring home to their families! He picks on poor people trying to make an honest living while raising money for his network executives who only worship the dollar. POS human being. I loathe him!

    May 18, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. tanthonys

    Simply, they're terrorists. I'm hoping that they some ship that they try to stop has machine gun toting security personnel who treat these terrorists in the appropriate manner – and they shoot to kill.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joe

    This guy is a real POS. I hope he rots in a prison. I am a big environmentalist and animal rights activist, but this joker has cause more harm than good. He needs to go away.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:02 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chelsea

    Mr. Watson is a great man. I didn't mean all of the vomit I was spewing. Germany should set him free and allow Watson and his crew to continue their good works. He is saving the world, even though most of us deserve to wallow in our filth. Free Paul Watson!

    May 18, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. stormy

    Ive worked with Cost Ricans and they, like Mexicans are the biggest bunch of morons.....they need to focus on the basics their country still struggles with like roads, water, drugs, and basic Internet not to mention all the influx of "ugly Americans" that invest down there to make a quick buck, and let the Western world keep fighting for bigger issues like destruction of the worlds oceans.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Greenpeace

    Free Paul Watson. Germany has enough sins on its soul without getting involved in something that is absolutely NONE of its business.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Paul Greenpeace

    Met Paul in Vancouver around 1971. The buck was definitely not his objective. From that tiny office on 4th ave he made Greenpeace a world force to reckon with. Saving not only countless whales, but credit Paul and his Greenpeace organization with being a key element in all ecological movements and thought this planet has today.

    Paul is a man born in time to fulfill a preordained destiny. An unsung hero of Canada and the air we breathe.

    FREE THE WATSON !!!

    May 18, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony Paceti

      @Paul Greenpeace! Right you are. This is a man who fights for what is right, protecting even the ignoramuses who think the world's corporations have their best interests at heart.

      FREE PAUL WATSON!!!!!

      May 18, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • WDinDallas

      He is just a common Terrorist, over extending his political views and endangering others.

      May 18, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Tony Paceti

    What he's doing is right. There should be hundreds if not thousands of Paul Watson's in this world to protect humans and animals from the avarice and greed of bloated corporations.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
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