Court update – May 23, 2019

The official position of the Marine Mammals Council on the release of orcas in Srednyaya Bay
Trial of the court case for the release of orcas and beluga whales in Primorye is scheduled to end on May 31

Court update – May 23, 2019

On May 23rd, another court hearing was held at the South Sakhalinsk City Court on the case of public organizations “Sakhalin EcoWatch”, “Boomerang Club”, “Ocean Friends” and citizens demanding the release of orcas and belugas in their natural habitat.

The respondents were representatives from the Federal Agency for Fisheries and Rosprirodnadzor, as well as representatives of capture companies and the director of “Afalina” LLC.

As in the preliminary meeting on April 19, the respondents and the companies began with petitions that would delay the processing of the case. Russian Fisheries asked the court to end the case on the grounds that the rights of the plaintiffs are not violated, and at the same time asked to return the claim to the plaintiffs in connection with the fact that the case is under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, and not the South-Sakhalin City Court. White Whale LLC filed a petition similar to what Afalina LLC stated at the last meeting – to return the claim to the plaintiffs due to the fact that the case is under the jurisdiction of the Arbitration Court, and not the court of general jurisdiction.

 A heated discussion of the petitions took several hours, after which the court went into the deliberation room and made two decisions on the refusal of both petitions.

During the break, Interfax and Itar-Tass news correspondents took a comment from the director of Afalina LLC, A. Reshetov, on the release of orcas and beluga whales, who stated the following:

“Any questions about release can be raised only after I will be deprived from ownership of this animals. What release are we talking about? This animals are my property. I did not make a decision to release and don’t intend to do it. All rash statements about some possible release remain on the conscience of those who makes these statements”. Also the director of the company said that the media publishes inaccurate information about the problem.

“No decisions on release were made. I don’t have enough health to be able to bring all those journalists who publish these rumors” to justice. Although, if something happens to my business, I have a plan of such works for about five years. I can use every inaccurate information and sue journalists and live happily ever after on this money, ”he noted.

 The Kremlin reacted immediately to the refusal of captors to release animals and the failure to follow president’s instructions:
“We, too, were surprised to hear these statements by a representative or owner of a company that was engaged in the capture.
Now we want to refresh in the memory the list of instructions given by the president. There is no need for any additional instructions or orders, everything was clearly formulated. So far, it can be stated that these orders are not fulfilled at least in part, so now we simply once again, as they say, check the clock, in which part these orders are not fulfilled, ”said Dmitry Peskov.

After lunch, the court heard the position of the plaintiffs and questioned the witness – the head of the Directorate of Science and Education of the Federal Agency for Fishery, S.E. Golovanov. The parties also debated various arguments of the statement of claim. The hearting dragged on until 19:00 and the court announced a break until Monday 10:00am.