Snowden journalist's partner held

LONDON - The police will be asked to justify the detention of a journalist's partner under terror laws, the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee has said.

Keith Vaz said the full facts of David Miranda's nine-hour detention at Heathrow must be established quickly.

Mr Miranda's partner is the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, who has written about US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Brazil has said the detention of Brazilian national Mr Miranda caused "grave concern" and was "unjustified".

Mr Miranda was held at Heathrow on his way from Berlin to Rio de Janeiro. He reportedly had his mobile phone, laptop, memory sticks, DVDs and other items seized before he was released.

The Independent Reviewer of Terrorism legislation, David Anderson QC, told the BBC it was very unusual for a passenger to be held for nine hours under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and he wanted to "get to the bottom" of what had happened.

He said he has asked the Home Office and Scotland Yard for a full briefing.

The Guardian said: "We were dismayed that the partner of a Guardian journalist who has been writing about the security services was detained for nearly nine hours while passing through Heathrow airport.

"We are urgently seeking clarification from the British authorities."

Under schedule 7, UK police can hold someone at an airport for up to nine hours for questioning about whether they have been involved with acts of terrorism.

BBC correspondent Ben Ando says the power must be used appropriately and proportionately, and is subject to independent scrutiny.

According to the Home Office, more than 97% of examinations last less than an hour.

Anyone detained must "give the examining officer any information in his possession which the officer requests". Any property seized must be returned after seven days.

A Home Office spokesman said on Monday: "Schedule 7 forms an essential part of the UK's security arrangements - it is for the police to decide when it is necessary and proportionate to use these powers."

A Metropolitan Police statement confirmed: "At 08:05 on Sunday 18 August 2013 a 28-year-old man was detained at Heathrow Airport under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. He was not arrested. He was subsequently released at 17:00."

Mr Greenwald said the British authorities' actions in holding Mr Miranda amounted to "intimidation and bullying" and linked it to his writing about Edward Snowden's revelations concerning the US National Security Agency (NSA).

"They never asked him about a single question at all about terrorism or anything relating to a terrorist organisation," he told the BBC World Service's Newsday programme.

"They spent the entire day asking about the reporting I was doing and other Guardian journalists were doing on the NSA stories.

"The principal point, since they kept him for the full nine hours, is to try and send a message of intimidation and bullying.

"I don't understand why they don't realise that all it's going to accomplish is the exact opposite effect - I'm going to report more aggressively and with a more emboldened mind," Mr Greenwald told the BBC.
Writing to police

Mr Vaz told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the events were an "extraordinary twist" to an already complex story.

He went on: "Of course it is right that the police and security services should question people if they have concerns or the basis of any concerns about what they are doing in the United Kingdom.

"What is extraordinary is they knew he was the partner (of Mr Greenwald) and therefore it is clear not only people who are directly involved are being sought but also the partners of those involved.

"Bearing in mind it is a new use of terrorism legislation to detain someone in these circumstances... I'm certainly interested in knowing so I will write to the police to ask for the justification of the use of terrorism legislation - they may have a perfectly reasonable explanation.

"But if we are going to use the act in this way... then at least we need to know so everyone is prepared."

Mr Vaz later said: "Those of us who were part of passing this legislation certainly would not have expected it to be used in a case of this kind. That's what makes it so extraordinary."

The Brazilian government issued an official statement soon after the release of Mr Miranda.
Edward Snowden, NSA whistleblower Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden leaked documents to Mr Greenwald

The foreign ministry document says there was no justification for detaining an "individual against whom there are no charges that can legitimate the use of that [anti-terror] legislation".

It also says Brazil expects incidents "such as the one that happened to the Brazilian citizen today" not to be repeated.

Mr Miranda was flying back from the German capital, Berlin, to Rio de Janeiro, where he lives with Mr Greenwald, when he was detained in transit through Heathrow.

In Germany, he stayed with US film-maker Laura Poitras, who has also been working on the Snowden files with Mr Greenwald and The Guardian. according to the newspaper.

Following his detention at Heathrow, Brazilian government officials and Guardian lawyers were sent to the airport, The Guardian says.

Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, has leaked top secret documents to the US and British media. He has been given asylum in Russia.

The NSA has broken privacy rules and overstepped its legal authority thousands of times in the past two years, according to documents leaked by him.

Comments (1)

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gayhater - 20 August 2013

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