Friday, December 11, 2009

Peter Watts beaten, arrested at U.S. border

Canadian science fiction writer Peter Watts was stopped, beaten and arrested by U.S. border guards on Tuesday, December 8.

According to Watts’ friend, sf writer David Nickle (via Boing Boing):
“He (Watts) was stopped at the border crossing at Port Huron, Michigan by U.S. border police for a search of his rental vehicle. When Peter got out of the car and questioned the nature of the search, the gang of border guards subjected him to a beating, restrained him and pepper sprayed him. At the end of it, local police laid a felony charge of assault against a federal officer against Peter. On Wednesday, he posted bond and walked across the border to Canada in shirtsleeves (he was released by Port Huron officials with his car and possessions locked in impound, into a winter storm that evening). He's home safe. For now. But he has to go back to Michigan to face the charge brought against him. The charge is spurious. But it's also very serious. It could mean two years in prison in the United States, and a ban on travel in that country for the rest of Peter's life.”
There’s more on the story at Boing Boing and Peter Watts’ own account at his website.

For a little context, Peter Watts has a graduate degree in marine mammal biology and has written several highly regarded science fiction novels. Blindsight (Tor, 2006) was short listed for the Hugo Award for best novel. Donations to the legal defense fund can be made via Paypal to

Peter Watts' second post about the incident at his website
The Times-Herald (Port Huron, Michigan) article on the incident Friday, December 11
The Times-Herald (Port Huron, Michigan) article on the incident Saturday, December 12

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