News / Europe

Britain Under Fire Over Detention of Reporter's Partner

Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, right, and his partner David Miranda. (File photo)
Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, right, and his partner David Miranda. (File photo)
Reuters
— British authorities came under pressure on Monday to explain why anti-terrorism powers were used to detain for nine hours the partner of a journalist who has written articles about U.S. and British espionage programs based on leaks from Edward Snowden.
 
Brazilian David Miranda, the partner of American journalist Glenn Greenwald, was detained on Sunday at London's Heathrow Airport where he was in transit on his way from Berlin to Rio de Janeiro. He was released without charge.
 
Miranda was detained under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which allows police to stop and question people traveling through ports and airports to determine whether they are involved in planning terrorist acts.
 
The opposition Labor Party urged the authorities to explain how they could justify using Schedule 7 to detain Miranda, arguing any suggestion that anti-terrorism powers had been misused could undermine public support for those powers.
 
“This has caused considerable consternation and swift answers are needed,” said Labor lawmaker Yvette Cooper, the party's spokeswoman on interior affairs, in a statement.
 
The Home Office, or interior ministry, said the detention was an operational police matter. The police declined to provide any details beyond confirming the detention.
 
“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 Home Office spokesman said.
 
Miranda was detained for the maximum nine hours allowed by the legislation, which is extremely rare.
 
According to Home Office statistics, fewer than three out of every 10,000 people passing through British borders are stopped under Schedule 7. Of those, more than 97 percent are examined for less than one hour, while 0.06 percent are held for six hours or more.
 
Brazil has said Miranda's treatment “has no justification”.
 
Charges of intimidation
 
Greenwald, who is based in Brazil and writes for Britain's Guardian newspaper, said the detention of his partner was a “despotic” attempt to intimidate him and others involved in reporting on British and U.S. espionage programs.
 
“They completely abused their own terrorism law for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism,” he wrote in a column in the Guardian.
 
“If the UK and U.S. governments believe that tactics like this are going to deter or intimidate us in any way from continuing to report aggressively ... they are beyond deluded.”
 
He has published a series of articles based on documents leaked by Snowden, the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor who faces criminal charges in the United States but has been granted temporary asylum in Russia.
 
Greenwald said it was “obvious” the British police had no terrorism suspicions about Miranda and that they had spent the nine hours of his detention asking him about Greenwald's reporting and the contents of the electronic devices he was carrying.
 
Lawyer David Anderson, the independent reviewer of anti-terrorism legislation who can make recommendations to ministers and parliament, told the BBC he had asked the police and the Home Office for a detailed explanation of Miranda's detention.
 
“My concern is to see that these powers are appropriate, that the right safeguards are in place, and that they are being properly used by the police,” he said.
 
Keith Vaz, a Labor lawmaker who chairs parliament's powerful Home Affairs committee, also told the BBC he had written to the head of London's Metropolitan Police to ask for clarification of what he labeled an “extraordinary” case.
 
Schedule 7 has been under official review, with a public consultation published in July showing that 71 percent of respondents thought the detention time-limit of nine hours was excessive. The government plans to reduce it to six hours.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid