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07/20/2009 EUROPEANS CONVICTED FOR FILMING SEAL HUNT

Two European journalists were fined on Friday by a court in Namibia for filming the annual seal hunt along the coast of the southern African nation, their lawyer said. British investigative journalist Jim Wilckens and South African cameraman Bart Smithers were found guilty of violating the Marine Resources Act by entering a restricted area without permission, lawyer Raywood Rukoro said. Both were released after paying a fine of 5,000 Namibian dollars ($625) each, he said, adding that they intended to leave Namibia soon, even though they are not being deported. The duo was arrested by police whilst documenting the Namibian seal cull. They were kept at police cells at Henties Bay, about 400km from the capital Windhoek. Wilckens, a reporter with the British-based Eco-Storm agency, and Smithers were working with the Dutch non-governmental organisation Bont Voor Dieren.

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