Sea Shepherd's Paul Watson flees Germany while out on bail
Canadian animal-rights activist Paul Watson made a career out of targeting those who hunt whales and seals, but the extreme eco-activist now finds himself the prey in an international manhunt.
Watson was arrested in Germany on May 13 at the request of Costa Rica, which wants to try him for endangering crew members of a shark-finning ship in 2002. He was released on bail shortly after. His bail conditions required he check in with police twice daily.
Japan had issued an Interpol blue notice – not seeking his arrest, simply help locating him – for attacks by Watson’s group Sea Shepherd against illegal whaling vessels.
Watson fled Germany Wednesday after telling his lawyer he would be at an “undisclosed destination.”
Some have speculated he fled over fears he would be extradited to Japan – where he believed he might be killed. Neither Costa Rica nor Germany have extradition treaties with Japan.
Watson views himself as a vigilante, upholding international laws on illegal whale and seal hunting, among other causes.
The Costa Rican embassy in Ottawa issued a statement on Watson’s escape, stressing both its commitment to preserving biodiversity and the fact no one “may take the law into his or her own hands.”
Watson subscribes to the deep ecology philosophy in which the natural environment is seen as an equal to and sometimes more important than humanity.
After three crew members of a seal-hunting vessel were killed in a marine accident, Watson said the deaths were tragic but paled in comparison to the murder of hundreds of thousands of seals every year. The ministries of fisheries and oceans as well as health both demanded apologies.
They never got one.