Scotland Yard defends the detainment of Miranda
Scotland Yard has defended the detention of David Miranda at Heathrow Airport, partner of the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald. The police have said that the questioning of Mr Miranda was legally and procedurally sound.
Mr Miranda, who was held for nine hours at Heathrow Airport under anti-terrorism law, is now taking legal action over his detention. He was stopped on Sunday under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which applies only at airports, ports and border areas, allowing officers to search, question and detain individuals.
The solicitors of Mr Miranda have written to the home secretary and Met Police commissioner to prevent them from inspecting, copying or disclosing any of the items confiscated to Mr Miranda. The Guardian stated that the legal action is taken by Mr Miranda only, but that the newspaper will support the cause.
In a statement, the police force has claimed that the detention of Mr Miranda was subject to a detailed decision-making process and that the procedure was reviewed throughout to ensure that the examination was both necessary and proportionate.
It stated: “Contrary to some reports the man was offered legal representation while under examination and a solicitor attended. No complaint has been received by the Metropolitan Police Service at this time.”
Even so, the Met has refused to explain why Mr Miranda was stopped and why his personal belongings were confiscated.
Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, put forward the idea that the move was an attempt to intimidate the journalist Glenn Greenwald, who is at the centre of revelations about US and British security services.
He said: “Journalism may be embarrassing and annoying for governments but it is not terrorism. It is difficult to know how in this instance the law was being used to prevent terrorism.”
The issue got more complicated yesterday after a Washington official explained that even if they didn’t take any part in Mr Miranda’s detention, they knew that something like that was likely to happen.