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Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, threatens to take legal action

August 20, 2013

By Laura Smith-Spark

London (CNN) — David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, has threatened legal action against the British government after he was detained and searched at Heathrow airportover the weekend, his lawyers said Tuesday.

Miranda argues it was illegal for police to seize data from him and wants to ensure that they do not do anything with the material until a judge has heard his claim.

Miranda, 28, was held for nearly nine hours Sunday while on his way home to Brazil after leaving Berlin. Authorities seized his laptop, phone, USB sticks and other materials, his lawyers said.

Miranda’s partner, Greenwald, broke the story about the existence of a U.S. National Security Agency program that is thought to have collected large amounts of phone and Internet data. Information for the story came from Edward Snowden, a former contractor for the NSA.

Gwendolen Morgan, the solicitor representing Miranda at the law firm Bindmans, said it will file a claim in London’s High Court unless the UK government and Metropolitan Police concede that Miranda’s detention and the seizure of documents from him were illegal.

Miranda will seek a judicial review on the grounds that the legislation under which he was detained was misused, Morgan said.

Morgan wrote Tuesday to Home Secretary Theresa May and the Metropolitan Police chief asking for assurances that “there will be no inspection, copying, disclosure, transfer, distribution or interference, in any way, with our client’s data pending determination of our client’s claim.”

The law firm has also demanded the same from any third party, either domestic or foreign, that may have been given access to the material.

The letter, seen by CNN, details the grounds for the legal challenge to Miranda’s detention “and the consequent unlawful taking and retention of his property including sensitive journalistic materials.”

It claims that Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 was used to detain Miranda “in order to obtain access to journalistic material” and that this “is of exceptional and grave concern.”

He was subjected to “intensive, intrusive questioning” over the course of eight hours, the letter says. A lawyer was granted access to Miranda, a Brazilian citizen, only one hour before the end of the maximum nine-hour detention period. He was not provided with an interpreter and “found the whole experience most distressing,” it adds.

Greenwald told Brazilian media Monday that UK authorities “are going to regret what they did.”

NSA admits mistakes amid criticism

‘Duty to protect’

But Britain’s Home Office on Tuesday defended Miranda’s detention, saying the government and police “have a duty to protect the public and our national security.” Read more at CNN.


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