Erwin is released from jail as the ICR’s injunction is denied in U.S. District Court

Erwin is released from jail as the ICR’s injunction is denied in U.S. District Court

from seashepherd.org

Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian Volunteer, Erwin VermeulenSea Shepherd Cove Guardian Volunteer,
Erwin Vermeulen
“It is a victory for Sea Shepherd, for environmentalists; It’s a victory for the whales.” -Charles Moure, Harris & Moure Law Firm

February 16 was a lively day in court for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.  In Wakayama, Japan, closing arguments were presented in the case of Cove Guardian Erwin Vermeulen, while in Seattle the Institute for Cetacean Research presented their preliminary injunction in the case of the ICR vs. Sea Shepherd.

In Wakayama, following the closing arguments by both prosecution and defense, the judge signed an order, presented by the defense, for Erwin to be released from custody pending the judge’s verdict.  The prosecution exercised its right to appeal to a higher court in order to force Erwin to remain in detention for the remainder of the trial.  The trial judge took the extraordinary step of sending the paperwork to the higher court last night, thus ensuring that the appeal would be heard today.  The higher court sided with the trial judge and denied the prosecution’s appeal.  Erwin has been released from detention and will rejoin his fellow Cove Guardians.

Erwin will be back in court on February 22 to hear the judge’s verdict on the assault charges.  The prosecution has only asked for a fine of 100,000 Yen ($1.300), should Erwin be found guilty.  No jail time was requested.  This demand for such a meager fine and no jail sentence, along with the strong case presented by the defense, exposed the fact that the prosecution’s case is without merit and was poorly investigated.  It has become clear that arresting Erwin and charging him with assault was politically motivated.  The prosecution’s appeal against Erwin’s release from detention is blatant injustice and more proof of the underlying political motivation behind this case.

In Seattle, Sea Shepherd’s legal team, Harris and Moure, presented an outstanding defense against the ICR’s attempt to halt Sea Shepherd’s activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Judge Richard A. Jones denied the whalers’ motion for a preliminary injunction meaning Sea Shepherd has legal authority to continue anti-whaling activities in the Southern Ocean.  Judge Jones made it clear that he would look at the reason why SSCS is in the Southern Ocean as well as the events taking place there-in other words the ICR’s illegal whaling activities are under as much scrutiny as the whalers’ claims against SSCS. The Harris and Moure team has filed a motion to have the entire case dismissed from the United States District Court. This motion has yet to be ruled on.

The Steve Irwin maneuvers around the Japanese Harpoon Vessel, Yushin Maru 2. Photo: Billy DangerThe Steve Irwin maneuvers around the Japanese Harpoon Vessel, Yushin Maru 2.
Photo: Billy Danger

Divine Wind
Visit our
Operation Divine Wind
site for information about our
2011-12 Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign

Ten Definitions of a Cove Guardian hero, by Captain Paul Watson (1) Went to Taiji to document the atrocity against the dolphins (2) Was arrested in a deliberate framing operation by the Taiji police (3) Did not confess to their bogus charges (4) Stayed true to the activist rule of “No One Talks, Everybody walks.” (5) Stayed true to the activist rule “No One Signs, Everything is fine.” (6) Stayed strong until the end and never faltered once. (7) Remained humble and focused on the mission at all times (8) Refused to eat their meat and fish and endured a white rice only diet in jail (9) Spoke the truth to power in a Japanese court knowing that the Japanese conviction rate is 99%. (10) Never apologized for defending the dolphins from the barbarians at Taiji. Erwin Vermeulen – A Cove Guardian Hero

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