British authorities used anti-terrorism powers to detain the partner of a journalist with close links to Edward Snowden, the fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor, as he passed through London’s Heathrow airport on Sunday.
The 28-year-old David Miranda, a Brazilian citizen and partner of U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald who writes for Britain’s Guardian newspaper, was questioned for nine hours, before being released without charge, a report on the Guardian website said.
Rio de Janeiro-based Greenwald has interviewed Snowden, wanted by U.S. authorities after leaking confidential data, and used 15,000 to 20,000 documents Snowden passed to him to reveal details of the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance methods.
Snowden is now in Russia, where he has been granted a year’s asylum but the U.S. Obama administration has vigorously pursued ways to bring him back to the United States to face espionage charges.
A spokesman for the British Metropolitan Police Service confirmed that a 28-year-old male had been detained at Heathrow airport under schedule seven of the 2000 Terrorism Act earlier in the day.
Britain’s ‘schedule seven’ law gives border officials the right to question someone “to determine if that individual is a person concerned in the commission, preparation or execution of acts of terrorism.”
A statement from the Guardian said it was “dismayed” at Miranda’s detention and that it would be pressing British authorities for an urgent clarification.
The Brazilian government complained about the detention of Miranda at Heathrow for nine hours incommunicado under Britain´s anti-terrorism laws.
“This measure has no justification since it involves an individual against whom there are no charges that can warrant the use of this legislation,” the Brazilian foreign ministry said in a statement.