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Bethune has long wait to see lawyer

Published: 11:53AM Saturday March 13, 2010 Source: Newstalk ZB

It could be three weeks before a New Zealand anti-whaling protester is allowed to speak to his lawyers.

Pete Bethune is being held in Japan after being arrested and charged with trespassing, when he arrived there on Friday.

He has been held for the past month on the Japanese whaling ship the Shonan Maru 2.

Sea Shepherd's Paul Watson says the Japanese are not letting Bethune see his legal team.

He says Japanese authorities are entitled to interrogate a prisoner without representation, for up to three weeks.

Bethune has however met with New Zealand Embassy staff in Tokyo since his arrival in Japan.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully says consular officials are providing updates on Bethune's situation to his wife as they become available.

"Embassy staff report he is well and continues to be in good spirits," McCully says.

Meanwhile, the leader of Australia's Green Party has announced on Saturday morning he is backing an international campaign to free Pete Bethune.

Bob Brown has warned the Japanese courts have nearly a 100% conviction rate, and he is not planning to let people forget about Bethune's plight.

Brown says there will be an international campaign to free Peter Bethune.