The partner of the Guardian journalist who published documents revealing mass surveillance programs by the U.S. National Security Agency was detained for nine hours while in transit at a London airport.
Brazilian David Michael Miranda lives with Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian reporter who wrote a series of stories based on materials provided by U.S. whistle blower Edward Snowden, which stunned Washington.
The Guardian and reports quoting the Metropolitan Police said Miranda was arrested at London's Heathrow airport at 08:05 a.m. on Sunday on his way home to Rio de Janeiro from Berlin on British Airways.
Miranda went to Berlin to meet U.S. filmmaker Laura Poitras, who has also been working on the Snowden files with Greenwald, the Guardian said. The British newspaper says it has paid for Miranda's flights.
Officers released 28-year-old Miranda after questioning him for nearly nine hours, the maximum the Schedule 7 of the UK Terrorism Act of 2000 allows before officers must release or formally arrest the individual.
Many of his possessions, including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles, were confiscated before being released without charge.
Schedule 7 is the law that allows the police to detain anyone at the UK borders without any requirement to show probable cause and hold them for up to nine hours, without seeking further justification. The detainee must respond to any questions, regardless of whether a lawyer is present. No lawyer is provided automatically.
The brief detention came in for criticism by Greenwald, the Brazilian government and Amnesty International. Greenwald called it "a profound attack on press freedoms and the news gathering process," and a failed attempt at intimidation. He vowed that the detention would "only embolden us more to continue to report aggressively."
The Brazilian Foreign Ministry has warned against repeating such incidents, where there was no justification for detaining an "individual against whom there are no charges that can legitimate the use of that [anti-terror] legislation."
Amnesty International said that "by targeting Miranda and Greenwald, the government is sending a message to other journalists that if they maintain their independence and report critically about governments, they too may be targeted."
"There is simply no basis for believing that David Michael Miranda presents any threat whatsoever to the UK government. The only possible intent behind this detention was to harass him and his husband, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, for his role in analyzing the data released by Edward Snowden," Amnesty said in a statement.
by RTT Staff Writer
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