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Doris Lin

Paul Watson Released on Bail

By May 24, 2012

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Paul Watson

Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has been released on bail in Germany, but is not allowed to leave the country and is still in danger of being extradicted to Costa Rica on what many believe is a false accusation of attempted murder.

Sea Shepherd states on their site, "The Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt confirmed together with the General Public Prosecutor that the authority to end the extradition proceedings belongs to the German Minister of Justice, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger." However, Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger implied that the decision is not hers in a post on her Facebook page on May 18, 2012:

Whether the request for extradition is permissible is a decision for the Hesse judicial authorities. Frankfurt/Main Higher Regional Court will now decide on the motion for detention made by the Frankfurt Public Prosecutor General's Office. The Federal Ministry of Justice harbours doubts about the permissibility of the extradition and has communicated its concerns to the Hesse judiciary for assessment. Federal Justice Minister Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger considers the independence of the judiciary to be a paramount value.

Supporters are calling for a tourism boycott of Costa Rica, but it seems Japan may be the real force behind Watson's arrest. If Watson is extradicted to Costa Rica, Japan could then call for his extradiction to face charges relating to Sea Shepherd's campaigns against Japanese whaling.

Watson gave a press conference upon his release from prison, in which he put the focus on the protection of sharks and whales in our oceans and assured the public that Sea Shepherd's campaigns "will continue with or without me." The press conference can be viewed in a 10-minute video here.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

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