Arrested anti-whaling activist returns to Luxembourg
(AFP/JB) Luxembourg anti-whaling activist Kevin Schiltz returned to Luxembourg on Sunday after he was ordered to leave the Faroe Islands for disrupting a traditional pilot whale hunt.
The 23-year-old was one of five Sea Shepherd volunteers to be arrested on July 23 for attempting to stop and document the annual pilot whale cull known as the “Grind”.
He was charged and sentenced to eight days in prison or a fine of 5,000 kroner (670 euros). He is appealing against the verdict and sentences.
The young Luxembourger, who works at the Kockelscheuer ice-skating rink and spent his annual leave volunteering for conservation group Sea Shepherd, was expelled from the Faroe Islands on Friday.
Sea Shepherd Luxembourg confirmed his return to Luxembourg airport at 10am on Sunday morning.
The organisation posted a photo on Facebook of the activist being greeted by friends under which people posted scores of messages of support.
Schiltz's arrest triggered a strong response in Luxembourg, where opponents to the Faroe Islands' whale hunt gave a peaceful demonstration in front of the Danish Consultate on Friday evening.
Sea Shepherd is also in talks with members of the government to investigate claims that the whale meat from the Grind hunt is consumed.
During the hunt, which many locals defend as a cultural right, the three-to-six metre (10-to-20 foot) sea mammals are driven by a flotilla of small boats into a bay, or the mouth of a fjord, before being killed by hand.
The whale meat and blubber are consumed by locals and considered delicacies on the archipelago situated between Norway, Iceland and Scotland.
Sea Shepherd has repeatedly attempted to highlight and stop the whale hunt, launching its latest action in the area, involving two vessels and dozens of activists, two months ago.
The group says 12 activists have been convicted since the start of the year. Around 60 Sea Shepherd activists are still in the archipelago.
Provincial authorities said that they would not "tolerate the disruption of the pilot whale drive in the Faroe Islands, which is a legal, fully regulated and sustainable use of an abundant natural resource."
They added: "Obstructing a whale drive can be dangerous and can put people and property at risk."
The Faroe Islands are home to just under 50,000 people and have been an autonomous Danish province since 1948.
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