Guardian man's partner held at Heathrow for nine hours
MP asks: Why was Brazilian citizen detained under anti-terrorism laws in connection with Edward Snowden leaks?
DAVID MIRANDA (left), the 28-year-old partner of The Guardian's Glenn Greenwald (right), who has been investigating Edward Snowden's revelations about NSA surveillance tactics, was held at Heathrow airport for nine hours yesterday under anti-terrorism laws.
Amnesty International has denounced the detention as "unwarranted revenge tactics".
Miranda – a Brazilian citizen – was changing planes in London as he travelled from Germany to Rio de Janeiro.
He had spent the previous week in Berlin visiting Laura Poitras, a documentary film-maker who has been helping Greenwald disseminate Snowden's leaks, the New York Times reports. Because the meeting with Poitras was connected to Greenwald's coverage of the NSA surveillance story, The Guardian paid for Miranda's trip.
An indignant Greenwald described the decision to hold his partner for nine hours – the maximum permissible under schedule seven of Britain's Terrorism Act – as a "failed attempt at intimidation".
"They [British authorities] completely abused their own terrorism law for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism," he wrote in The Guardian.
Greenwald described the incident as "a potent reminder of how often governments lie when they claim that they need powers to stop ‘the terrorists', and how dangerous it is to vest unchecked power with political officials in its name."
The decision to detain Miranda has also been attacked by Brazil's foreign ministry. "This measure has no justification since it involves an individual against whom there are no charges that can warrant the use of this legislation," it said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Labour MP Keith Vaz told the BBC's Today programme he would write to the police to demand an explanation why anti-terrorism laws were used to hold Miranda. "It's something that needs to be clarified and clarified quickly," he said.
Another Labour MP, Tom Watson, said the incident was shocking and called for it to be made clear if any ministers were involved in authorising the detention.
During the time he was held at Heathrow, Miranda was not allowed to make contact with Greenwald or a lawyer. His laptop, mobile phone, various video game consoles, DVDs, USB sticks, and "other materials" were seized and have not been returned, Greenwald said.
A spokesperson for Scotland Yard confirmed the basic details of Miranda's detention, but "refused to be drawn" on why anti-terrorism powers had been used to hold him. The Home Office has made no comment on the matter. ·