German National Arrested in Taiji

Expected To Be Held For 48 Hours

Nils GreskewitzNils Greskewitz
File Photo
October 8, 2012 — TAIJI, Japan — Police in Taiji, Japan arrested a 26-year-old German national, Nils Greskewitz, on Monday, October 8, 2012.  Nils was climbing on a statue of a harpooner at the whale museum park in Taiji.  While he had no intention of causing any harm, the statue was damaged by his activity.

The police have stated that Greskewitz will be held for at least another 48 hours while they continue to investigate the matter and prosecutors decide what, if any, charges to bring. Under Japanese law, an individual can be held for up to 23 days without charges.

Greskewitz has been in Taiji participating in Sea Shepherd Conservation Society’s Cove Guardian campaign against the slaughter of dolphins in the village’s killing cove.  Sea Shepherd is committed to seeing the end of the slaughter, but has promised local authorities that its volunteers will not purposely break Japanese laws.

“Sea Shepherd Conservation Society does not condone property damage in Taiji or anywhere in Japan,” said the organization’s founder and president Captain Paul Watson. “The guidelines for the Cove Guardians are clear. All activities must fall within the boundaries of Japanese law. This was the agreement we made with Japan in 2003 and we stand by this agreement,” he said.

Greskewitz was acting on his own accord by climbing on this statue and was not conducting any campaign-related activities by doing so. Because Greskewitz was acting on his own and caused this unintentional damage, Sea Shepherd has removed him from the campaign and is unable to cover any restitution or legal expenses Greskewitz may incur.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society regrets that the statue was broken by a volunteer for the Cove Guardians and has taken measures to dismiss the individual responsible from the Cove Guardian program.

Sea Shepherd will provide legal assistance to any Cove Guardian who is arrested without cause as we did with Erwin Vermeulen last year when the police attempted to frame him on a charge of assault. He was acquitted on that charge by the Japanese courts.

Although we are sympathetic to the situation Greskewitz has placed himself in, Sea Shepherd has made it very clear to all volunteers that the Society cannot and will not support illegal activities in Japan, even when accidental.

“Sea Shepherd Cove Guardians continue to shine an international spotlight on the atrocities that occur in Taiji,” says Melissa Sehgal, Cove Guardian Leader. “We are volunteers on the ground to document and expose the horrific dolphin slaughter, but will continue to abide by Japanese law. Japan's barbarism in Taiji brings dishonor to the nation,” Sehgal added.

The German consulate has been notified of the arrest. Sea Shepherd does not expect to have updates on this matter for at least another 48 hours and is unable to comment further at this time.

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