TOKYO — A Japanese court on Wednesday convicted an anti-whaling activist from New Zealand of assault and obstructing Japan’s whaling fleet in the Antarctic. But his sentence was suspended, meaning he will not be jailed.
Peter Bethune, a member of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, boarded a Japanese whaling ship from a Jet Ski in the southern Antarctic in February, and threw bottles of butyric acid at the whalers. One bottle cracked open and three crew members suffered minor burns, prosecutors charged.
The Tokyo District Court also found Mr. Bethune, 45, guilty of trespassing, vandalism and possession of a knife. The presiding judge, Takashi Tawada, sentenced Mr. Bethune to two years in prison, with the sentence suspended for five years.
Mr. Bethune pleaded guilty to all charges except assault at the start of his trial in May. Under a suspended sentence, those convicted do not have to serve the prison term unless they are charged with further criminal offences. - NY Times
I figured that they would have made an example to him, if for no other reason than to put a real fear into other Sea Shepherd activists of facing the same fate if they are foolish enough to also board a Japanese whaling vessel. Still, I would like to think that spending a month confined on a Japanese whaling ship and then being a 'guest' in a Japanese jail is disincentive enough.
Personally, I think the Japanese need to hit back harder. Sinking the ADY GIL was a step in the right direction. There is lots more they can do like disabling the small boats and helicopter while on the deck. Hell, where are their potato cannons? Also, if I were them, I would target the camera crews. Simply because they are a tool for the Sea Shepherds and taking out their camera equipment has a real cost. (Note, I am against all Japanese whaling.)