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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid