Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageHollywood star Rutger Hauer backs activist jailed in Japan

By Elizabeth Batt     Feb 6, 2012 in Environment
Wakayama - Dutch stage, television and film actor Rutger Hauer, famous for movies such as Blade Runner and The Hitcher, has stepped up in support of Sea Shepherd activist Erwin Vermeulen, recently jailed in Japan for an alleged pushing incident.
Erwin Vermeulen, the Sea Shepherd cove guardian arrested last December in Taiji, Japan, for allegedly pushing a dolphin trainer, has now been imprisoned for over 50 days in Japan. The Dutch national made his initial appearance in court on January 26, along with the trainer who testified the activist pushed him in the chest area.
At the time, Vermeulen was described by Sea Shepherd observers as looking visibly thinner and fatigued. His unkempt appearance they said, was evidence of the "the subpar conditions Erwin is being subjected to inside the Japanese prison system".
During the initial court proceedings on Jan. 26, Japanese authorities had asked Vermeulen to put on a jacket he wore when the alleged incident occurred. SSCS observers, reported that Erwin stated at the time, “I wish I had this in my cell because it’s freezing in there".
When the cove guardian's trial continued on Feb. 01, Sea Shepherd said, "Erwin was led into the courtroom shackled by a rope around his waist, attached to a leash." At the conclusion of the day's proceedings and for the first time, the activist was finally allowed to visit with Cove Guardian campaign leader, Scott West, who managed to pass Vermeulen a sweater.
Erwin Vermeulen spent over 60 days in a Japanese jail before being found not guilty. Image: Sea Shep...
Erwin Vermeulen spent over 60 days in a Japanese jail before being found not guilty. Image: Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
According to a Feb. 02 press release from Sea Shepherd, when Erwin was arrested, "he weighed in at 176 lbs" but "has lost approximately twenty pounds while detained."
Now Vermeulen's treatment during his detainment, has angered Sea Shepherd advisory board member, Rutger Hauer, who expressed disbelief that the activist was being held "under highly inhumane conditions and in solitary confinement – all for the mere accusation of pushing someone".
Hauer told Andrew Darby of The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday:
"This treatment is pushing all kinds of limits, it's time for us to be humane, to show respect, common sense, and heart".
Scott West meanwhile, said Erwin looked gaunt. He lambasted the trial as “a farce, in that the prosecution does not have a case,” he said.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS), whose popular show Whale Wars is one of the top rated shows on Animal Planet, fear the worst for their jailed Dutch volunteer.
"Even with the lack of evidence and overall weak case of the prosecution, an acquittal is unlikely, as this would harm the judge’s reputation in the eyes of the prosecution and police", said SSCS. Still, adds the organization, "an acquittal would be an extremely brave act on the part of the judge".
Vermeulen's trial continues February 16. Closing arguments will be presented with a verdict expected on February 22.
More about Sea shepherd conservation society, Antiwhaling, whale wars, The Cove, taiji japan
More news from
Latest News
Top News