LONDON: British authorities faced a furor on Monday after they held the partner of a journalist who worked with Edward Snowden to expose United States (US) mass surveillance programs for almost nine hours under anti-terror laws.
David Miranda—the Brazilian partner of Glenn Greenwald, an American journalist with Britain’s Guardian newspaper—was held on Sunday as he passed through London’s Heathrow Airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro from Berlin.
A furious Greenwald said British authorities had “zero suspicion” that Miranda was involved in terrorism and instead spent hours interrogating him about the Guardian’s reporting on the activities of the US National Security Agency (NSA), which has enraged Washington.
“This was obviously designed to send a message of intimidation to those of us working journalistically on reporting on the NSA and its British counterpart, the GCHQ,” Greenwald wrote in the Guardian.
“They completely abused their own terrorism law for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”
Miranda, 28, had been refused access to a lawyer and officials had taken his laptop and mobile phone, Greenwald added.
The British interior ministry did not immediately comment on Miranda’s detention, saying it was a police matter.
But authorities were under increasing pressure to explain why he had been held, with Brazil expressing “grave concern” that one of its citizens had been apparently “held incommunicado” at the airport.