(DOLPHIN NEWS) JAPAN — Cove Guardian Erwin Vermeulen was released after 63 days spent in a Japanese prison. Vermeulen was falsely accused of pushing a local hotel employee while taking pictures of dolphins being transported from cages into Taiji’s Dolphin Resort Hotel. Arriving home in the Netherlands yesterday, Vermeulen thanked everyone for their continuous support and said he was glad his ordeal had not been in vain. His experience generated worldwide attention about the atrocities being committed in Taiji. Read on for more on Vermeulen’s release. — Global Animal
After recounting the tribulations of his 63 days in jail, subsequent trial and acquittal in the Wakayama Prefecture near Taiji to media gathered yesterday at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Tokyo, Sea Shepherd Cove Guardian Erwin Vermeulen jubilantly boarded a plane and headed for home. He arrived at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol at 2 p.m. today to a hero’s welcome.
Erwin was greeted by his family and 50 supporters from Sea Shepherd/Netherlands. Numerous representatives from national radio and television news media were also present to capture his triumphant return. After many rounds of hugs and pats on the back, Erwin thanked everyone for their ongoing support while he was incarcerated. He also told the crowd assembled at the airport he was glad his ordeal had not been in vain. His experience had focused worldwide attention on the ongoing atrocities committed against the dolphins of Taiji; indeed, that is why he became a Cove Guardian in the first place.
After his brief comments, Erwin stopped into an airport bar, where someone purchased him a cold refreshing beer. He raised his glass and humbly toasted his supporters from around the globe for never giving up on him during his two months of imprisonment, saying simply, “Thank you, everyone” and “It’s good to be home.”