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UK police defend Snowden-linked detention

20 August 2013, 16:01

London - British police on Tuesday defended as "legally and procedurally sound" the detention of the partner of a journalist linked to US intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden, and denied allegations that he was denied access to a lawyer.

Brazilian David Miranda was detained and questioned at London's Heathrow airport at the weekend for nearly nine hours under terrorism laws, prompting condemnation from Brazil and civil rights groups who said the detention was unfounded.

Miranda is the partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, who interviewed Snowden about secret US and British cyber surveillance programmes. He was arrested in transit en route from Berlin to Brazil.

"The examination of a 28-year-old man under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 at Heathrow Airport on Sunday 18 August was subject to a detailed decision making process," Scotland Yard said.

"The procedure was reviewed throughout to ensure the examination was both necessary and proportionate. Our assessment is that the use of the power in this case was legally and procedurally sound."

Miranda said he had been questioned about his "entire life," his computer was taken away and he was denied access to a lawyer, a claim denied by Scotland Yard.

"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," it said.

The White House said the US government had been informed in advance that Miranda would be detained. Spokesperson Josh Earnest said the US had not requested the detention.

Greenwald described the detention as "despotic".



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