Breaking! Court Rules In Favor of World Renowned Dolphin Advocate Ric O’Barry; Founder of The Dolphin Project Granted Reentry Into Japan

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Photo from Dolphin Project website

Three years and eight months after world renowned dolphin advocate Ric O’Barry was deported from Japan, the Tokyo District Court has declared that the deportation order by the Ministry of Justice be revoked. In a judgement for the case of O’Barry versus Japan, the court ruled in Ric’s favor, citing that both his denial of entry (dated January 20, 2016) and deportation (dated February 5, 2016) were without legal merit.

“I just learned that the court in Japan has ruled in my favor. Excellent news. Justice has been served. I have a message to the judges who ruled in my favor: Thank you for being fair. I won’t let you down. I have never violated the Japanese legal system and will continue to respect the rule of law. I look forward to seeing your beautiful country and all of my Japanese friends once again, especially those who work tirelessly to abolish the unnecessary dolphin slaughter in Taiji. I will continue to support their peaceful movement in a respectful manner as a law abiding tourist,” said Ric O’Barry, Founder and Director of Dolphin Project in a statement.

One of the main issues was whether Ric qualified for a “short stay” visa. The court determined that he did – citing that Ric’s explanation (during his oral hearing) was trustworthy, and consistent with his previous activity in Japan. Each of the additional government’s arguments were proven insufficient.

“Three judges in Tokyo today intelligently showed that Mr. O’ Barry is a peaceful and rule-abiding person and that Japan can be a democratic and an open-minded country that may accept diversified opinions,” said Takashi Takano, O’Barry’s lawyer.

There is a possibility the government will appeal, but this order will stand in the meantime. Dolphin Project would like to thank each and every person who showed concern and donated towards Ric’s legal fees. Your tweets, emails, calls and donations made a difference! They would also like to thank Matt Sorum, Leilani Munter, Maisie Williams, Slash, Dr. Brian May and Tom & Kim Scholz. Thank you to Congressman Ted Lieu, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo and The Law Offices of Takashi Takano.

“This is not only a victory for Ric but also for Japanese citizens – today’s court decision showed us that we are living in a democratic country, which makes me feel so proud.” said Megumi Wada, The Law Office of Takashi Takano.

Photo from Dolphin Project website

Dolphin Project, that was founded by Richard (Ric) O’Barry back in 1970, is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to the welfare and protection of dolphins worldwide.

The mission of Dolphin Project is to end dolphin exploitation and slaughter, as dolphins are routinely captured, harassed, slaughtered and sold into captivity around the world – all in the name of profit. The organization works not only to halt these slaughters, but also to rehabilitate captive dolphins for retirement and/or release, investigate and advocate for economic alternatives to dolphin slaughter, and to put a permanent end to dolphin captivity.

Dolphin Project has achieved many important victories for dolphins over the years. They brought the world’s attention to the brutal drive hunts taking place along the coast of Taiji, Japan, as seen in the 2009 Academy Award-winning feature documentary “The Cove.” “We successfully negotiated for an end to the dolphin slaughter in the Solomon Islands and we continue to raise awareness that captivity is a cruel and outdated practice.”

Ric O’Barry has been working towards these goals for over 48 years, and continues his quest to put an end to dolphin suffering. Since 1970, when Ric attempted to free a captive dolphin in Bimini, he has since readapted and/or released over 20 dolphins back into the wild.

Please support Ric and his mission through The Dolphin Project to save our earth’s last wild dolphins, HERE!

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