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May 16, 2014

Journalist’s partner detained for nine hours at Heathrow over Snowden files wins permission to appeal

By Press Gazette

The journalist's partner who was held for nine hours at Heathrow under anti-terror legislation has won permission to appeal against a High Court decision that police and security services were legally justified in detaining him and examining material he was carrying.

The Court of Appeal granted Brazilian David Miranda, the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, who worked on stories covering disclosures about mass surveillance made by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, permission to appeal on all five of the grounds he submitted.

The Court of Appeal noted court the exceptional and compelling nature of the case and importance of the issues.

The challenge is being mounted under three broad headings – that police and security services had an improper purpose when they stopped Mr Miranda at Heathrow Airport under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 last summer, that the stop was not proportionate, and that it was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The appeal argues that the dominant purpose of the senior officer who allowed the search was to help the security service to get hold of sensitive data – not a purpose allowed by the Terrorism Act 2000, which specifies that stops must be intended to determine whether an individual is a person who appears tobe involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism.

Police detained Miranda at Heathrow Airport last August under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 while he was in transit from Germany to Brazil, and took nine items, including his laptop, mobile phone, memory cards and DVDs.

The move, and the subsequent decision of the Divisional Court that it was lawful, caused a storm of protest, with campaigners saying it amounted to an attack on freedom of speech and a free press, and was no more than "a bare-faced abuse of power".

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Glenn Greenwald pictured with David Miranda above (Reuters).

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