UK: High court decision to uphold use of terrorism legislation against David Miranda 'chilling'

© EVARISTO SA/AFP/Getty Images

The High Court of England and Wales struck a blow against freedom of expression today when it ruled that the nine-hour detention of David Miranda, partner of the former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, under anti-terrorism legislation was lawful and proportionate.

Brazilian national David Miranda was detained in August 2013 while in transit in London’s Heathrow airport. He was held for nearly nine hours under Schedule 7 of the UK’s Terrorism Act 2000 – the limit allowed without seeking further authority to continue the detention.

Amnesty’s Europe Programme Director, John Dalhuisen, said:

“This ruling underscores our long-standing concerns about the over-broad nature of the UK’s anti-terror laws, which are wide open to abuse and misuse.

“It is clearly deeply troubling if laws designed to combat terrorism can be used against those involved in reporting stories of fundamental public interest.

“There is no question the ruling will have a chilling effect on freedom of expression in the future.”

Miranda’s partner, the journalist Glenn Greenwald, analysed and published information on documents disclosing sweeping, systematic and unlawful surveillance by the US and UK intelligence agencies. At the time Miranda was detained, he was assisting in his partner’s investigative journalism.

View latest press releases