Paul Watson, the environmentalist and anti-whaling champion who leads annual Sea Shepherd mission to disrupt the Japanese fleet fears extradition and has skipped bail worth 250,000 euros ($306,500) in Germany, AFP reports.
The 61-year old Sea Sheperd founder was arrested in Germany and on house arrest for two months awaiting extradition to Costa Rica after a dispute over shark finning in 2002 which led to a confrontation at sea. Costa Rica accused him of “putting a ship’s crew in danger”. He fled Germany, believing that had he stayed he would have been handed over to Japan and “never be released”.
Watson said on the Sea Sheperd website that he felt betrayed by Berlin and accused Japan of conspiring with the two countries to hunt him down in revenge, saying that they were “pawns in the Japanese quest to silence Sea Shepherd”.
“This is not about justice, it is about revenge,” he added. Watson did not reveal his whereabouts in his message but offered that he is in a ‘safe place’.
Tokyo claims that its whaling operation is for ‘scientific’ purposes and accused Watson of seriously disrupting ‘research’ but has made no official statement on Watson’s fears of extradition.