Sea Shepherd founder on the run
SYDNEY, July 31, 2012 (AFP) – - Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson Tuesday accused Japan of hunting him down in revenge for his attacks on its whaling operations, in his first comments since jumping bail and fleeing Germany.
The militant environmentalist said he felt betrayed by Germany, where he had been under house arrest for 70 days, because it had negotiated with Japan to extradite him to Tokyo.
“I am very disappointed with the German government. For me it is obvious that the German government conspired with Japan and Costa Rica to detain me so that I could be handed over to the Japanese,” he said.
Watson, who for years has harassed Japan’s annual whale hunt off Antarctica, was arrested in Germany in May for extradition to Costa Rica on charges stemming from a high-seas confrontation over shark finning in 2002.
He was detained for a week before being released on bail after paying 250,000 euros (US$306,500) and being ordered to appear before police twice a day. But the 61-year-old skipped bail on July 22.
“I am presently in a place on this planet where I feel comfortable, a safe place far away from the scheming nations who have turned a blind eye to the exploitation of our oceans,” he wrote.
“I can serve my clients better at sea than in a Japanese prison cell and I intend to do just that,” he wrote, saying that Sea Shepherd would sail on its ninth campaign against Japanese whalers in December.
Australia is the launch site for Sea Shepherd boats each year as they chase the Japanese whalers.