The partner of Guardian journalist and blogger Glenn Greenwald was detained for nine hours in London’s Heathrow Airport Sunday under a British anti-terrorism law.
David Miranda, a Brazilian citizen, had been visiting American filmmaker Laura Poitras in Berlin and was on his way home to Brazil when British authorities detained and questioned him under Schedule 7 of the country’s Terrorism Act of 2000, the Guardian reports.
Greenwald and Poitras have published a number of revealing articles about the U.S. National Security Agency and the U.K. Government Communications Headquarters.
Individuals detained under the law, which focuses on port and border control, do not have a right to legal representation or the right to remain silent.
Nine hours, however, is hardly the norm: 97 percent of people detained are kept for less than an hour and only one in 2,000 people who are detained are kept for more than six hours, according to official figures released by the U.K. government.
Miranda was not charged, but officials confiscated his electronics, including his “mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles,” reports the Guardian.
Greenwald previously told The Daily Beast in late June that Miranda’s laptop had been stolen from their home in Rio de Janeiro two days after he had told Miranda via Skype that he would send him an electronic encrypted copy of the documents leaked to him by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Skype allegedly began collaborating with the NSA in February 2011, three months prior to its acquisition by Microsoft.
Microsoft, along with other tech companies implicated by the documents revealed by Snowden, has denied accusations that it collaborates with the NSA and is part of a coalition petitioning the federal government to allow for greater transparency about how it meets law enforcement and national security demands.
In a separate article detailing his perspective on the situation, Greenwald criticized the U.S. and U.K. governments, saying Sunday’s incident was “rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism.”
“It’s bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It’s worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic,” he said.
Greenwald said that according to the Guardian’s lawyer who met with Miranda after he was released, Miranda “was in very good spirits and quite defiant, and he asked the lawyer to convey that defiance” to him.
“I already share it, as I’m certain U.S. and U.K. authorities will soon see,” said Greenwald.