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German National Released from Shingu Jail

Nils GreskewitzNils Greskewitz
File Photo
After his family paid a fine and the cost to repair the broken statue, Nils Greskewitz was released today from the jail in Shingu, Japan.  He collected his personal possessions and headed for the airport to return home.

Nils had been in Taiji, Japan as a volunteer with Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s Cove Guardian campaign.  During a lull in the dolphin killing, Nils climbed up on a statue at the whaling museum and inadvertently damaged the statue depicting a man with a harpoon.  The long harpoon bent.  We all recognize, including Nils, that this was not the smartest thing he could have done and that his actions were clearly outside the scope of the campaign. The bent harpoon was not a prank, but simply the result of a momentary lapse of judgment.  Who would have thought that this could have resulted in Nils’ incarceration for 18 days?

But of course the Wakayama Prefecture police over-reacted.  Let us not forget they arrested, charged, and detained Erwin Vermuelen for more than 60 days on false accusations less than a year ago.  The police (30-plus in number) seized Nils and whisked him away to jail.  In short order, the police raided the other Cove Guardians’ vehicles and hotel rooms.  Cameras, telephones, and computers were seized.   Ostensibly, they were investigating to determine if the bent harpoon had been a plot.  Come on, if we have not sunk boats or cut nets why would we bend a statue?  Even the greenest rookie on the force would see this for what it was — an accident.  No, the police chose to use this opportunity to seize our equipment in hopes of shutting us down.  They wanted to intimidate the volunteers and scare them off.  Their plan did not work, but it does show that the police in Taiji are desperate and that it is a dangerous place for our volunteers.

The police failed in their attempts to intimidate and shut us down.  Their last attempt to do so was to damage our equipment. They promised our equipment would be returned in a couple of weeks.  But thanks to the generosity of Cove Guardian supporters around the world, within 24 hours we had acquired newer and better equipment to replace the items seized. Indeed, replacing our equipment is, in fact, the best course of action in cases such as this, not only to prevent interruption of reporting on the dolphin captures and slaughter but also to ensure the security of our communications. As an example, Cove Guardian Leader Melissa Sehgal reported that upon recovering her laptop from police, it had been disassembled and broken. It has since been replaced, thanks to you! It is that new equipment which is enabling the live streaming from Taiji.  The police really hate that we now have this capability.  Perhaps they will do something else in their over-reaction mode that will enable us to do even more.

Scott West

Cove Guardian Campaign Coordinator

Read the original article German National Arrested in Taiji

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