10 Jun 2010

Japanese prosecutors demand 2 years for Bethune

8:51 pm on 10 June 2010

It's been reported that Japanese prosecutors are demanding a two-year prison sentence for New Zealand anti-whaling activist, Peter Bethune.

Mr Bethune is facing five charges in a Tokyo court, including trespass and assault, after he boarded a Japanese whaling vessel in the Southern Ocean in February.

Mr Bethune was detained on the whaling ship and arrested on its return to Tokyo in March.

His trial ended on Wednesday, with each side making closing statements.

Mr Bethune made a 15-minute address to the court, speaking in Japanese.

The judges said they would deliver a verdict on 7 July.

Pacific whale hunt starts

Meanwhile, a conservation group has condemned Japan for starting its seasonal whale hunt in the North-west Pacific, fewer than 10 days before the annual Whaling Commission meeting.

The whaling fleet has left port to hunt 260 whales, before returning to Japan in August.

The Humane Society International's Nicola Bynan says the move is provocative.