Court mandates extradition hearing for whaling foe Paul Watson
Norway wants Watson to serve a sentence handed down when he was convicted in absentia for anti-whaling protest activities in Norway.
"This is an election year in Norway, and Paul's life is the floundering prime minister's ticket to election. Holland has unintentionally involved itself in the politics of Norway's election and the politics of illegal whaling. As well, Holland does not know that Paul has received specific death threats from Norwegians for years," said Sea Shepherd's International Director Lisa Distefano. "If Paul is imprisoned in Norway, we know he'll never leave alive." Watson, a co-founder of Greenpeace, has actively opposed Norway's illegal commercial whaling operations since 1992, when Norway began openly violating the global moratorium on whaling imposed in 1986 by the International Whaling Commission.
Watson was arrested March 31st by German authorities in the port of Bremerhaven while supervising the transfer of a Sea Shepherd vessel in preparation for a campaign against illegal drift netting in the Mediterranean. He was seized Wednesday by Dutch police in Amsterdam.
At a preliminary hearing on Thursday in The District of Haarlem Court, Judge Toeter ordered Watson held for 20 days to allow Norway to make a formal request for extradition.
"Since 1986 it has been illegal to kill whales, and Norway has defied that law," said Watson. "We have continued to focus our protest activities on Norway's illegal whaling. We will put Norway on trial in the Netherlands court and use this opportunity to further expose Norway's illegal activities to the world."