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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.