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Alexandra Topping and Guardian staff | theguardian.com | Monday 19 August 2013 05.32 EDT   

Senior MP to seek explanation from police after detention of Glenn Greenwald's partner under the Terrorism Act

The chairman of the home affairs select committee has said he will write to police after the partner of the Guardian journalist who has written a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programmes by the US National Security Agency was held by UK authorities as he passed through London's Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro.

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"It is an extraordinary twist to a very complicated story," Vaz told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Monday. "Of course it is right that the police and security services should question people if they have concerns or the basis of any concerns about what they are doing in the United Kingdom.  What needs to happen pretty rapidly is we need to establish the full facts – now you have a complaint from Mr Greenwald and the Brazilian government. They indeed have said they are concerned at the use of terrorism legislation for something that does not appear to relate to terrorism, so it needs to be clarified, and clarified quickly."

Vaz said he was not aware that personal property could be confiscated under the laws. "What is extraordinary is they knew he was the partner [of Greenwald] and therefore it is clear not only people who are directly involved are being sought but also the partners of those involved," he said. "Bearing in mind it is a new use of terrorism legislation to detain someone in these circumstances [...] I'm certainly interested in knowing, so I will write to the police to ask for the justification of the use of terrorism legislation – they may have a perfectly reasonable explanation. But if we are going to use the act in this way ... then at least we need to know so everyone is prepared."

The Home Office has refused to comment on the detention of Miranda, stating that it was a matter for the police. In a brief statement, a Scotland Yard spokesperson said: "At 08:05 on Sunday, 18 August a 28-year-old man was detained at Heathrow airport under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000. He was not arrested. He was subsequently released at 17:00."

There are more words arranged into meaningful sentences at the hyperlinked web posting.
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Kieth Vaz

(born 26 November 1956 in Aden) is a British Labour Party politician and a Member of Parliament for Leicester East. He is the longest-serving Asian MP and has been the Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee since July 2007. He was appointed as a member of the Privy Council in June 2006. He has been named among the most influential Asians in Britain.[1]
Meanwhile....Labour demands review of anti-terror powers
Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, said ministers must find out whether anti-terror laws have been "misused", after Miranda was held for nine hours by authorities at Heathrow airport under the Terrorism Act.

His detention has caused "considerable consternation" and the Home Office must explain how this can be justified as appropriate and proportionate, she said.

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"The police and security agencies rightly work hard to protect national security and prevent terrorism. But public confidence in security powers depends on them being used proportionately within the law, and also on having independent checks and balances in place to prevent misuse."

Her intervention comes after Brazil expressed "grave concern" about the detention of one of its citizens under anti-terror legislation. Its government said the detention of Miranda was without justification, as there are "no charges that can legitimate the use of that legislation". The Home Office has declined to comment, arguing it is a matter for Scotland Yard.

Yvette Cooper
Yvette Cooper (born 20 March 1969) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford since 2010, having previously been MP for Pontefract and Castleford since 1997. She served in the Cabinet between 2008 and 2010 under Prime Minister Gordon Brown as Chief Secretary to the Treasury and then as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. She is currently the Shadow Home Secretary and Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities. She is married to fellow Labour politician Ed Balls.
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