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Gay lover of whistle-blowing journalist detained at Heathrow Airport for more than nine hours

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 19th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It's being viewed as an act of intimidation against a journalist who dared to report the truth of U.S. surveillance against its own citizens. Reporter Glenn Greenwald with the Guardian newspaper in the U.K. interviewed whistleblower Edward Snowden in regards to the tactics employed by the National Security Administration. Now - Greenwald's gay lover David Miranda, on his way home to his native Brazil has been detained at London's Heathrow Airport for over nine hours under a provision of the Terrorism Act.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Miranda, who lives with Greenwald, was returning from a trip to Berlin when he was stopped by officers and told that he was to be questioned under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 -- which only applies only at airports, ports and border areas. The measure allows officers to stop, search, question and detain individuals.

Twenty-eight-year-old Miranda was held for nine hours, the maximum the law allows before officers must release or formally arrest the individual. The vast majority of examinations under schedule 7, over 97 percent last less than an hour, and only one in 2,000 people detained are kept for more than six hours.

Released, officials confiscated Miranda's electronics equipment including his mobile phone, laptop, camera, memory sticks, DVDs and games consoles.

Greenwald has written a series of stories since June revealing the NSA's electronic surveillance programs, detailed in thousands of files passed to him by Snowden.

Miranda had been in Berlin visiting Laura Poitras, the U.S. film-maker who has also been working on the Snowden files with Greenwald and the Guardian. The Guardian paid for Miranda's flights.

"This is a profound attack on press freedoms and the news gathering process," Greenwald said. "To detain my partner for a full nine hours while denying him a lawyer, and then seize large amounts of his possessions, is clearly intended to send a message of intimidation to those of us who have been reporting on the NSA and GCHQ. The actions of the U.K. pose a serious threat to journalists everywhere.

"But the last thing it will do is intimidate or deter us in any way from doing our job as journalists. Quite the contrary: it will only embolden us more to continue to report aggressively."

The U.K. government said it would reduce the maximum period of detention to six hours last month. Officials also promised a review of the operation on schedule 7 amid concerns it unfairly targets minority groups and gives individuals fewer legal protections than they would have if detained at a police station.

The government of Brazil issued a statement in which it expressed its "grave concern" over the detention of one of its citizens and the use of anti-terror 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 are not repeated," the Brazilian government said in a statement.

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