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Barring entry to UK author on grounds of "moral turpitude" sets a dangerous precedent, says PEN American Center

(PEN/IFEX) - The following is a PEN American Center press release:

PEN Calls on U.S. to Review Exclusion, Admit Banned British Author

New York, New York, March 31, 2008 - PEN American Center is appealing to the Departments of Homeland Security and State to review the exclusion of British author Sebastian Horsley from the United States, calling the decision of Customs officials to bar him from entering the country on grounds of "moral turpitude" a "dangerous precedent that could be extended to bar scores of literary figures from a number of countries."

Horsley, whose memoir "Dandy in the Underworld" was published last year in Britain and the U.S., arrived at Newark Liberty Airport on Tuesday, March 18, 2008. After Customs officials ran a Google search on him, he was questioned for several hours about his statements and writings and ultimately refused entry to the U.S. based on admissions of past involvement with drugs and prostitution, as well as his participation in a self-crucifixion in the Philippines in 2000. He was forced to return to the U.K.

PEN has invited Horsley back to the United States to participate in this year's World Voices Festival of International Literature at the end of April, and is appealing to U.S. officials to facilitate his entry into the country.

Read PEN's letter to Secretary Rice and Secretary Chertoff here:

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