Peter Bethune Campaign

PM Urged to Help Save Pete Bethune from Japanese Jail

May 11, 2010

The Green Party says Prime Minister John Key must act fast to help the anti-whaling Kiwi Peter Bethune avoid a long sentence in a Japanese jail.

It says the Government now get the information required for the Maritime New Zealand investigation into the alleged Japanese ramming of the Ady Gil in Antarctic waters.

This information is critical to  Peter Bethune’s trial scheduled for the end of this month, the Green Party says.

The New Zealander was detained on board a Japanese harpoon ship after he tried to board it from a jet ski. He wanted to make a citizen’s arrest of the Japanese captain for the attempted murder of the six-man  crew of the eco-boat Ady Gil.

“Japan has refused to cooperate and either has something to hide or is making a deliberate attempt to thwart the course of justice for NZ citizen Peter Bethune,” Green Party Oceans Spokesperson Gareth Hughes says.

“Pete needs the results of the Maritime NZ investigation for his defence , but it seems thus far that he has been all but abandoned by the Government.

“To all intents and purposes, the Key Government has relinquished NZ jurisdiction and has left Pete at the mercy of a highly political Japanese trial.”

“Key has indicated that he thinks the Japanese Ambassador is coming in this week to meet with Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully. This comes after five months of the Government dragging its heals in the campaign to free Pete Bethune,” says Mr Hughes.

“In April, I asked Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully what diplomatic action he was taking to assist with the investigation.

“He replied that he had delegated this task to his staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and that he had registered his concern with Japan shortly after the incident.

“Once? In January? This is unacceptable. Minister McCully needs to see the link between the Maritime New Zealand Investigation, and the pending trial of New Zealand citizen Peter Bethune,” says Mr  Hughes.

“If the Key Government allows the Japanese Government to deliberately suppress information that could have a massive bearing on Peter Bethune’s trial, it is contributing to a travesty of justice that could see a NZ citizen jailed for up to 15 years for political motivations.”

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