The Brazilian partner of Guardian jounalist Glenn Greenwald who published documents leaked by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden was held for nine hours at Heathrow on his way to Rio de Janeiro.
David Miranda was held at Heathrow airport from 8:05 and released at 17:00. Nine hours is the maximum allowed time someone is legally allowed to be held without arrest.
The Guardian said official figures show over 97 per cent of examinations under schedule 7 last less than an hour and only one in 2,000 are kept for more than six hours.
Miranda reportedly had his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles confiscated.
From the Guardian:
“This is a profound attack on press freedoms and the news gathering process,” said Mr Greenwald. “To detain my partner for a full nine hours while denying him a lawyer, and then seize large amounts of his possessions, is clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA and GCHQ. “The actions of the UK pose a serious threat to journalists everywhere.
“But the last thing it will do is intimidate or deter us in any way from doing our job as journalists. Quite the contrary: it will only embolden us more to continue to report aggressively.”
The Brazilian government has said the incident has caused “grave concern”.
This measure is without justification since it involves an individual against whom there are no charges that can legitimate the use of that legislation. The Brazilian government expects that incidents such as the one that happened to the Brazilian citizen today are not repeated.
Amnesty International has also condemned the detention, saying it was “unlawful and inexcusable”.