It is Japanese whalers who should be facing charges under Australian law for endangering lives, not Sea Shepherd captain Pete Bethune said Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown.
“It is absolutely unjust that Captain Pete Bethune is facing up to 15 years in prison in Japan,” said Senator Brown.
“Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith cannot remain silent on this case any longer.
“The Australian Federal Police are investigating an official complaint by Sea Shepherd regarding the ramming and sinking of the Ady Gil by Japanese whaling vessel Shonan Maru 2.
“Under Australian law the captain of the Shonan Maru 2 should be tried and face life imprisonment for his actions, which endangered the lives of six people.
“New Zealand police are investigating a similar complaint under New Zealand law.
Senator Brown wrote again to Foreign Minister Stephen Smith yesterday calling for the Australian Government to do all it can to assist the investigations of the Australian Federal Police.
Responding to news that the New Zealand’s whaling commissioner has decided to support a compromise deal at the International Whaling Commission that will allow whales to be killed, Senator Brown said New Zealand were completely out of touch with public sentiment.
“Like Japan, the New Zealand Government now has whale blood on their hands.”
The Australian Greens have welcomed the arrival of the Sea Shepherd vessel ‘Steve Irwin’ on a brief stopover in Hobart this morning.
“The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has again shown up the timidity of the Government, seeking to enforce international law while the Australian Government stands on the sidelines,” said Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam.
“These campaigners have inspired Australians with their courage and willingness to act while notionally anti-whaling states like Australia stand by and do nothing.
“The Australian Government has a range of options, starting with official condemnation of Japanese deployment of military personnel to protect illegal whaling in the Southern Ocean and deployment of vessels to at least monitor the situation.
“We should make any future Japanese free trade agreement conditional on an end to the slaughter, and we should commence immediate legal action to enforce the law of the sea. Instead, the Australian Government has gone silent and left it to the Sea Shepherd to uphold international law,” he concluded.
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