FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - A German court has
ordered environmental activist Paul Watson of the group Sea Shepherd
re-arrested, saying Wednesday that he skipped bail and apparently left the
The 61-year-old Canadian was first arrested May 13 at
Frankfurt Airport on a Costa Rican warrant that claimed he had endangered
the crew of a fishing vessel a decade ago. Watson was released days later on
a (EURO)250,000 ($320,000) bond and ordered to report regularly to
authorities while Costa Rica's extradition request was considered.
"His attorney now says that his client informed him by telephone that he has
left Germany for an unknown destination," the Hesse regional court in a
statement, noting that Watson had failed to report to authorities since
Watson's German attorney didn't respond to repeated telephone
messages Wednesday. A spokeswoman for Sea Shepherd in the United States
declined immediate comment.
Shortly after his arrest in May, Sea
Shepherd issued a statement saying Watson was filming a documentary at the
time of the alleged incident, which took place in Guatemalan waters in 2002.
The U.S.-based group said it encountered an illegal shark finning
operation run by a Costa Rican ship, the Varadero, and told the crew to stop
and head to port to be prosecuted. The crew accused Watson's team of trying
to kill them by ramming their ship.
Watson has a history of
confrontations with whalers and fishermen.
He left Greenpeace in 1977
to set up the more action-oriented Sea Shepherd. The group has waged
aggressive campaigns to protect whales, dolphins and other marine animals,
prompting Japanese officials to labels its member terrorists and seek
Watson's arrest for allegedly masterminding violent protests.
After three days of speculation surrounding his whereabouts, German legal
counsel for Captain Paul
Watson has confirmed the marine conservationist, founder of
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and focus of the hit docu-reality TV
series “Whale Wars”
has departed Germany and is in an undisclosed location.
posted a statement earlier this evening that says: "We have reason to
believe from a reliable source that, once in
Costa Rica, the
Japanese Government may have sought extradition of Captain Watson to Japan
to answer charges related to obstructing their illegal whaling activities in
the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. We have no further information and are
not in touch with him. We will do our best to provide more details as we
Video clip from press conference regarding Paul Watson's arrest in Germany
Captain Watson had been detained in Germany for 70 days
despite thousands of letters of
support sent to the German Ministry of Justice from the public,
celebrities, politicians and other
luminaries arguing for his release.
arrested in Frankfurt on May 13th on a 10-year-old warrant from Costa
Rica while en route to Cannes, France. He was being detained in Germany for
extradition to Costa Rica for an alleged "violation of ships' traffic,"
which occurred during the 2002 filming of the award-winning documentary, "Sharkwater."
The specific incident took place on the high seas in Guatemalan waters,
when Sea Shepherd encountered an illegal shark-finning operation run by
Costa Rican vessel, the Varadero. On order of Guatemalan authorities, Sea
Shepherd instructed the crew of the Varadero to cease their shark-finning
activities and head back to port to be prosecuted.
maintains that while escorting the Varadero back to port, the tables were
turned and a Guatemalan gunboat was dispatched to intercept the Sea Shepherd
To avoid the Guatemalan gunboat, Sea Shepherd says they then
set sail for Costa Rica, where the crew uncovered even more illegal shark-finning
activities in the form of dried shark fins by the thousands on the roofs of
Watson had been out on bail and residing in
Germany following his arrest.