December 13 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
More than 40,000 people have backed a petition launched by Four Lions actor Adeel Akhtar calling on the government to urgently look at terrorism laws used to detain the partner of a Guardian journalist.
The 32-year-old Londoner, who was held under similar laws in New York in 2002, has called the legislation used to hold David Miranda at Heathrow airport for nine hours a ‘blunt instrument’ used to ‘intimidate people’.
He launched the petition on campaign site Change.org less than 24 hours ago and it has already attracted 41,716 signatories.
The page says: “Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 allows the police to detain anyone at the UK’s borders without any requirement to show probable cause and hold them for up to nine hours, without seeking further justification.
“Schedule 7 has become a blunt legal instrument that the UK government can use to intimidate people who it doesn’t agree with.
“I want to know how it was used in this case and how the government will stop innocent people going through this.”
Mr Miranda. 28, was flying home to Brazil on Sunday from Berlin when he was detained by officers during a stopover in Britain.
His partner, Glen Greenwald, has written several articles about the American and British security services for the Guardian, and interviewed former NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The newspaper’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, said its lawyers have written to Home Secretary Theresa May saying they may now take legal action over Mr Miranda’s detention.
Mr Akhtar, known for his portrayal of terrorist Faisal in the Chris Morris film Four Lions, said: “Being detained by authorities can be terrifying for an innocent person. Unfortunately I know how David feels.
“Ten years ago, I was returning to New York from London where I was studying when I was detained for several hours on ‘suspicion of terrorism’.
“Their reason? I looked ‘familiar’.
He said: “It was a traumatic experience which left me feeling powerless and let down, fearful that when travelling I’ll be singled out and have to go through the same thing again.”
Mr Akhtar, who appeared recently as Wilson Wilson in Channel 4’s Utopia, said when he heard about Mr Miranda’s similar experience he decided to ‘do something about it or at least create awareness about it’.
He said: “I’m not saying there shouldn’t be a law in place to protect us from terrorist threats, but these laws that are being used, I don’t think are being applied in the right way. It just feels a bit broad.
“I just think there has to be some sort of change, it just doesn’t seem right.”