By Jack Whibley, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – David Miranda, Brazilian citizen and partner of Glenn Greenwald, Rio-based journalist known for his role in disclosing former U.S. subcontractor Edward Snowden’s NSA spying allegations, was detained while passing through London’s Heathrow airport on Sunday.
The UK Government has so far refused to comment on the detention, saying it is an operational matter for the Metropolitan Police of London. Miranda was detained under Schedule 7 of the UK’s controversial Terrorism Act 2000.
He was held by officers for nine hours – the maximum allowed under Schedule 7 – before he was released without charge. According to Miranda, the UK authorities took his phone, a computer, a camera and a flash drive.
Miranda was in transit through Heathrow on his way to Rio from Berlin, where he had been working with Laura Poitras, a U.S. filmmaker who has been working with Greenwald on a documentary about the NSA files.
The U.S. said that the decision was made by UK officials alone. Miranda was traveling home to Rio from Berlin when he was detained. Miranda and Greenwald live and work in Rio together.
Responding to questions from reporters on Monday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest disclosed the U.S. knew of likely action. “We had an indication that it was likely that the arrest would occur, but it was not something we asked for. This was a decision that they made themselves.”
Schedule 7, which applies only at airports, ports and border areas, allows officers to stop, search, question and detain individuals without prior authorization or reasonable suspicion. Those stopped under that law have no automatic right to legal advice. It is a criminal offense to refuse to cooperate with questioning, which critics say is a curtailment of the right to silence.
The detention has caused unease across the political spectrum in the UK and elsewhere, with many politicians, lawyers and commentators speaking out about the unusual nature of the detention and the length of time that Miranda was held.
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