UK-based human rights organization Amnesty International and WikiLeaks condemned the detention of Glenn Greenwald’s partner at Heathrow airport, London.
David Miranda,28, 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.
Greenwald who has direct and close links with National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden published and commented on the classified U.S. intelligence documents provided by the leaker in July this year. The abrupt detention of the journalist’s partner is being considered as an attempt to intimidate the NSA investigative reporting.
According to Greenwald, “The [UK] authorities had zero suspicion that David Miranda was associated with a terrorist organization or involved in any terrorist plot. Instead, they spent their time interrogating him about the NSA reporting which Laura Poitras, the Guardian and I are doing, as well the content of the electronic products he was carrying. They completely abused their own terrorism law for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism…”
Previously in June, the Guardian columnist had written about the ‘inevitable side-effects’ of ‘challenging the U.S. government,’ explaining how taking on the NSA affected his personal and professional life.
Brazil’s Foreign Ministry released the following response:
“The Brazilian government expresses grave concern about the episode that happened today in London, where a Brazilian citizen was held without communication at Heathrow airport for 9 hours, in an action based in the British anti-terrorism legislation. 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 do not repeat.”
Senior Director of International Law and Policy at Amnesty International Widney Brown condemned the detention and said, “David’s detention was unlawful and inexcusable. He was detained under a law that violates any principle of fairness and his detention shows how the law can be abused for petty vindictive reasons.”
WikiLeaks also tweeted its reaction:
We denounce the UK authorities abuse of terrorism legislation to detain NSA journalist Glenn Greenwald's partner. Brazil must act. #brasil— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 18, 2013
Looks like the UK authorities have a lot of explaining to do here.