New Zealand antiwhaling activist deported from Japan

20:31, July 09, 2010      

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New Zealand antiwhaling activist Peter Bethune was deported from Japan on Friday after being sentenced to a two-year suspended prison sentence and five years' probation, his role in boarding a Japanese whaling ship and obstructing their activities.

Bethune, 45, was deported through Tokyo's Narita airport two days after being found guilty on five charges, spanning from assault to trespassing -- the defendant had previously pleaded guilty to all charges except for assault.

Bethune claimed he boarded the Shonan Maru No. 2 from a jet ski on February 15 to hand the ship's captain a bill and letter of complaint claiming damages concerning the wrecking of the Ady Gil, as well as to make a citizen's arrest on the ship's captain for the attempted murder of one of his crew members.

These actions followed a collision between the Ady Gil vessel, which was subsequently wrecked, and the Shonan Maru No. 2, while the Ady Gil was trying to obstruct the main whaling fleet's activities. The incident took place in early January.

The New Zealander was arrested by the Japan Coast Guard at the Tokyo port on March 12 and was remanded in custody.

This is the first time an anti-whaling protester has been brought to Japan for trial and prosecuted.

Japan stopped whaling for commercial purposes in 1986 in line with international law, but has exercised its right to hunt whales for what it claims to be scientific purposes, although it does little to hide the fact that whale still appears on the menu in many Japanese restaurants.

Source: Xinhua


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