Making a stand

The trial of anti-whaler Pete Bethune, 45, of the Sea Shepherd marine conservation group, who was arrested after clambering aboard a Japanese whaling ship in February, has begun in Tokyo. The trial opens as the International Whaling Commission prepares to meet in Morocco to discuss a controversial proposal that would allow Japan, Norway and Iceland to hunt a limited number of whales commercially in return for reducing their catch over the next decade. Bethune was arrested after jumping on to the Shonan Maru 2 to protest against the sinking the previous month of the Ady Gil, Sea Shepherd’s powerboat. The boat, which Bethune skippered, was sliced in two during a collision with the Japanese vessel and later sank. Sea Shepherd had been using the Ady Gil to pursue and harass the whaling fleet during its annual “research” whaling expedition to the Antarctic. The group regards Bethune as a political prisoner. Dan Harris, a Sea Shepherd lawyer who has visited Bethune in detention said the activist was “unbelievably well. He’s in really good spirits, very healthy and excited about having the opportunity to explain himself to the world.”

Tags: Anti-whaling  Guardian (The)  Pete Bethune  Sea Shepherd  Tokyo