Detention of journalist’s partner highlights the scandal of Schedule 7

19 August 2013

On Sunday, David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, was detained for 9 hours at Heathrow airport. He was questioned under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and freed only when officers reached the legal time limit for either arresting or releasing him. His electronic equipment was confiscated and he had no access to publicly funded legal advice.

Glenn Greenwald has recently written several stories about the electronic surveillance revelations about the NSA and GCHQ for The Guardian. His partner David was on his way back to their home in Rio de Janeiro, having visited a film-maker also working on the surveillance revelations.

Liberty has long argued that Schedule 7 is overbroad legislation, ripe for misuse and discrimination.

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, said:

"David Miranda's chilling 9-hour detention was possible due to the breathtakingly broad Schedule 7 power, which requires no suspicion and is routinely abused. People are held for long periods, subject to strip searches, saliva swabbing and confiscation of property - all without access to a publicly funded lawyer. Liberty is already challenging this law in the Court of Human Rights but MPs disturbed by this latest scandal should repeal it without delay.”

Contact: Liberty Press Office on 0207 378 3656 or 07973 831128


1. On 28 May 2013 the European Court of Human Rights considered the arguments and decided that Liberty’s case is admissible. The Government is due to submit their submissions by 12th September 2013

2. Read Liberty’s response to the Home Office’s Review of the Operation of Schedule 7