Sea Shepherd's Paul Watson Arrested In Germany; Will Be Extradited To Costa Rica

CP  |  By Posted: 05/13/2012 9:25 pm Updated: 05/14/2012 12:42 pm

FRANKFURT - A controversial environment group dedicated to protecting marine mammals says its Canadian leader has been arrested in Germany.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society says Captain Paul Watson was arrested in Frankfurt over the weekend and will be extradited to Costa Rica on an outstanding arrest warrant.

The Sea Shepherd says in a statement that the arrest warrant stems from a 2002 incident involving a Costa Rican vessel illegally hunting for shark fins in Guatemalan waters.

On Twitter late Sunday, Watson tweeted: "I am currently being held in Frankfurt on charges from Costa Rica. Court appearance in the morning."

The group says while the Sea Shepherd boat was escorting the Costa Rican vessel back to port, a Guatemalan gunboat was dispatched to intercept the group’s crew.

According to a statement on the group’s website, the crew of the Costa Rican vessel accused the Sea Shepherds of trying to kill them, "while the video evidence proves this to be a fallacy."

The Sea Shepherd says their ship later encountered a Costa Rican gun boat, the crew of which has accused Watson of attempted murder.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was formed in 1977 and has had a controversial history.

The group sends vessels to confront the Japanese fleet each year, trying to block them from firing harpoons at whales.

The group’s tactics have drawn praise from supporters and vehement attacks from critics.

According to Sea Shepherd, Watson is being assisted in jail by European Parliament vice-president Daniel Cohn Bendit and European deputy Jose Bove.

"Our hope is that these two honourable gentlemen can set Captain Watson free before this nonsense goes any further," Sea Shepherd said.

Also on HuffPost:

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  • (FILES) Paul Watson, Canadian founder and president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a direct action group devoted to marine conservation poses, on May 25, 2011 in La Ciotat, south eastern France. Japan's whaling authorities said on December 9, 2011, they were suing campaign group the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and its head in the United States in a bid to stop it from interfering in the annual whale hunt. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Paul Watson, Canadian founder and president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a direct action group devoted to marine conservation poses, on May 25, 2011 in La Ciotat, south eastern France, after inaugurating the group's new multihull named after French screen legend and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot. AFP PHOTO/GERARD JULIEN (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Paul Watson, Canadian founder and president of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a direct action group devoted to marine conservation poses, on May 25, 2011 in La Ciotat, south eastern France, after inaugurating the group's new multihull named after French screen legend and animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot. AFP PHOTO/GERARD JULIEN (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • In this photo taken on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 and released by the Institute of Cetacean Research of Japan, Sea Shepherd activists on an inflatable boat deploy a rope aiming to entangle rudder and propeller of the Japanese whaling vessel Yushin Maru No. 3 during an encounter by the whalers and anti-whaling activists in the Antarctic Sea. (AP Photo/Institute of Cetacean Research) MANDATORY CREDIT, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

  • FILE - In this undated image released by Animal Planet, members of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society are shown. A U.S. federal judge on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012 declined a request from Japanese whalers to immediately restrain the activities of the activist group, popularized on the "Whale Wars" reality TV show. (AP Photo/Animal Planet, File)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2010 file photo released by the Institute of Cetacean Research of Japan, anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd's ship the Bob Barker, right, and the Japanese whaling ship No. 3 Yushin Maru collide in the waters of Antarctica. Japan will go ahead with its whaling program in the Antarctic later this year under heightened security to fend off activists who have vowed to disrupt the annual hunt, the country's fisheries minister said Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011. (AP Photo/Institute of Cetacean Research, File) MANDATORY CREDIT, NO SALES, EDITORIAL USE ONLY



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Filed by Brodie Fenlon  |