David Miranda, the partner of a journalist with ties to Edward Snowden, was detained Sunday at Heathrow Airport in London for nine hours under a law that allows authorities to stop, search, question and detain people for national security reasons.
The law allows British border officials to question someone “to determine if that individual is a person concerned in the commission, preparation, or execution of acts of terrorism.”
Miranda lives with Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who reported documents leaked by Snowden. Miranda was returning from a trip to Berlin when he was stopped at Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro, The Guardian reported
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Greenwald has found himself in the center of an international controversy that began with his stories on the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance programs that were detailed in files that whistleblower Snowden passed to him. Though the programs were first uncovered several years ago in a USA Today article, the detail that went into Greenwald’s articles was unprecedented.
The Guardian said that Miranda visited with U.S. filmmaker Laura Poitras while in Berlin. Poitras also has been working on the Snowden files with Greenwald and the Guardian. The British newspaper paid for Miranda’s flights.
Citing official figures, the newspaper said nearly everyone who is detained under the controversial law is held for less than an hour.
Miranda was released only after officials took his mobile phone, laptop, camera, DVDs and other electronic equipment.
Social networking sites were awash in ridicule for British authorities.
“Appalling and unacceptable,” Greg Sargent, aka @ThePlumLineGS, posted on Twitter.
“Detaining David Miranda under the Terrorism Act offers a mighty convenient example of security panic overreach,” tweeted @MattYglesias.
“This is completely outrageous,” tweeted @LaughingStoic.
“It is utterly improbable that David Michael Miranda, a Brazilian national transiting through London, was detained at random, given the role his partner played in revealing the truth about the unlawful nature of NSA surveillance," said Widney Brown, senior director of international law and policy at Amnesty International
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