Anti-whaling campaigners protested outside the German Embassy in Wellington today to demand full freedom for the Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society handed in a letter to the Embassy warning the Germans that Captain Watson faces danger and an unfair trial in Costa Rica., which it says is home to ‘a shark-finning mafia.’ It also hints that ‘illegal Japanese whalers’ could be involved.
When I arrived soon after 1pm a group of about 10 campaigners from the Wellington area and Porirua were protesting peacefully –and getting toots of support from passing motorists.
Their letter to the Ambassador says that if the German Justice and/or Foreign Affairs Ministries say they will not allow Captain Watson to be extradited, ‘the case would be over, and Captain Watson could be set free immediately.’
They also say:”We believe the warrant …is politically motivated and possibly due to an incident in which Sea Shepherd uncovered an illegal shark finning operation”
Costa Rica issued the arrest warrant eight months ago reportedly on the grounds of allegations by a Costa Rica gunboat crew that Capt. Watson was trying to kill them.
The New Zealand campaigners pour cold water on this allegation — and point out that Paul Watson was able to visit New Zealand, Australia, the UK and France without being under threat of arrest.
They say:”Sea Shepherd’s efforts to monitor and publicise illegal fishing and whaling around the world are vital.
“In the face of this, some illegal fishing operations try to use international law to shut down Sea Shepherd operations.”