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Britain Detains Partner of Reporter Tied to Leaks – NYTimes.com

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By CHARLIE SAVAGE and MICHAEL SCHWIRTZ

Published: August 18, 2013

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WASHINGTON — The partner of Glenn Greenwald, the journalist for The Guardian who has been publishing information leaked by the former National Security Agency contractor Edward J. Snowden, was detained for nine hours by the British authorities under a counterterrorism law while on a stop in London’s Heathrow Airport during a trip from Germany to Brazil, Mr. Greenwald said Sunday.

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Mr. Greenwald’s partner, David Michael Miranda, 28, is a citizen of Brazil. He had spent the previous week visiting Laura Poitras, a documentary filmmaker who has also been helping to disseminate Mr. Snowden’s leaks, in Berlin, to assist Mr. Greenwald. The trip had been paid for by The Guardian, Mr. Greenwald said, and Mr. Miranda was on his way home to Rio de Janeiro, where they live.

Mr. Miranda, Mr. Greenwald said, was told that he was being detained under Section 7 of the British Terrorism Act, which allows the authorities to detain someone for up to nine hours for questioning and to conduct a search of personal items, often without a lawyer, to determine possible ties to terrorism. More than 97 percent of people stopped under the provision are questioned for under an hour, according to the British government.

“What’s amazing is this law, called the Terrorism Act, gives them a right to detain and question you about your activities with a terrorist organization or your possible involvement in or knowledge of a terrorism plot,” Mr. Greenwald said. “The only thing they were interested in was N.S.A. documents and what I was doing with Laura Poitras. It’s a total abuse of the law.”

He added: “This is obviously a serious, radical escalation of what they are doing. He is my partner. He is not even a journalist.”

London’s Metropolitan Police Service, which had jurisdiction over the case, said in a statement that Mr. Miranda had been lawfully detained under the Terrorism Act and later released, without going into detail.

“Holding and properly using intelligence gained from such stops is a key part of fighting crime, pursuing offenders and protecting the public,” the statement said.

The Guardian published a report on Mr. Miranda’s detainment on Sunday afternoon.

Mr. Greenwald said he received a call early on Sunday from someone who identified himself as a security official from Heathrow Airport who informed him that Mr. Miranda had been detained, at that point for three hours. The British authorities, he said, told Mr. Miranda that they would obtain permission from a judge to arrest him for 48 hours, but he was released at the end of the 9 hours, around 1 p.m. Eastern time.

The British authorities seized all of his electronic media — including video games, DVDs, and data storage devices — and have not returned them, Mr. Greenwald said. Mr. Miranda was scheduled to board a return flight later on Sunday.

A spokesman for the British Foreign Ministry said the episode was a “police matter” and would provide no further comment.

Civil rights groups in Britain have criticized Section 7 of the Terrorism Act, accusing the authorities of using the provision to arbitrarily stop and detain travelers, particularly Muslims. The British Home Office has said it is reviewing the provision in an effort to address the concerns.

A lawyer for The Guardian in London was working on trying to understand what had happened, as were foreign-affairs officials for Brazil both in that country and in London, Mr. Greenwald said. He said that he received a call from the Brazilian foreign minister about 40 minutes after alerting the Brazilian government, and that the Brazilian authorities were outraged.

Sergio Danese, the under secretary for consular affairs at Brazil’s Foreign Ministry, said he did not know why Mr. Miranda had been detained. He said Brazil’s consul general and embassy officials in London worked to resolve the situation. As of Sunday afternoon, Mr. Miranda was en route to Brazil, he said.

“We were satisfied with him being liberated,” Mr. Danese said.

Charlie Savage reported from Washington, and Michael Schwirtz from New York.

via Britain Detains Partner of Reporter Tied to Leaks – NYTimes.com.

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