In what appears to be a sheer act of intimidation, David Miranda, "partner of Guardian interviewer of whistleblower Edward Snowden," was detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours and questioned under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000.
Scotland Yard refused to be drawn on why Miranda was stopped using powers that enable police officers to stop and question travellers at UK ports and airports.
There was no comment from the Home Office in relation to the detention. However, there was surprise in political circles and elsewhere. Labour MP Tom Watson said he was shocked at the news and called for it to be made clear if any ministers were involved in authorising the detention.
He said: "It's almost impossible, even without full knowledge of the case, to conclude that Glenn Greenwald's partner was a terrorist suspect.
"I think that we need to know if any ministers knew about this decision, and exactly who authorised it."
"The clause in this act is not meant to be used as a catch-all that can be used in this way."
Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act has been widely criticised for giving police broad powers under the guise of anti-terror legislation to stop and search individuals without prior authorisation or reasonable suspicion ? setting it apart from other police powers.
Those stopped have no automatic right to legal advice and it is a criminal offence to refuse to co-operate with questioning under schedule 7, which critics say is a curtailment of the right to silence.
Last month the UK government said it would reduce the maximum period of detention to six hours and promised a review of the operation on schedule 7 amid concerns it unfairly targets minority groups and gives individuals fewer legal protections than they would have if detained at a police station.
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