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German Court Seeks Extradition for Missing Activist, Sea Shepherd Captain

Paul Watson breaks bail, heads for 'unspecified destination'

Common Dreams staff

Captain Paul Watson (Photo: Sea Shepherd)

A German court issued an extradition request Wednesday for environmental activist Paul Watson, founder of marine conservation group Sea Shepherd, after reports revealed that Watson had skipped his bail in the country and could not be found. The call is the second extradition request in one year for Watson who had been arrested in Frankfurt following a previous extradition request from authorities in Costa Rica.

Costa Rican authorities have sought Watson's extradition since May, relating to charges of "violating ships traffic" and "putting a ship's crew in danger". The charges stem from a 2002 incident, when Watson's boat, the Sea Shepherd, intercepted a Costa Rican shark-finning boat off the cost of Guatemala, during a campaign to stop widespread illegal shark killing.

Watson, who was filming a documentary about his work at the time, maintains that his actions did not break the law and that he did not place lives in danger; however, he was detained in Germany in May after Costa Rican officials re-opened the case.

Watson's lawyer has now informed German authorities that he has left the country "for an unspecified destination," breaking the conditions of his bail.

In an interview directly after his May arrest, Watson told Agence France-Presse that Sea Shepherd will continue its work even if he is tried and jailed: "They hope that by getting me out of the way, they'll shut down our operations. They won't."

"This is not about me. It is about our oceans and the ever-escalating threat of diminishment of the diversity of life in our seas. It is about the sharks, the whales, the seals, the sea turtles and the fish," he said.

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