High Court dismisses David Miranda challenge to Heathrow detention

Ruling represents a dangerous elision of terrorist activity and legitimate journalistic practice

19 Feb 2014
David Miranda (Image: Elza Fiúza/Agência Brasil/Wikimedia Commons)

David Miranda (Image: Elza Fiúza/Agência Brasil/Wikimedia Commons)

Index on Censorship today expressed disappointment at the High Court’s dismissal of David Miranda’s application for a judicial review of the use of anti-terror laws to detain him at Heathrow Airport.

“This ruling represents a dangerous elision of terrorist activity and legitimate journalistic practice,” said Kirsty Hughes, Chief Executive of Index on Censorship. “We must hope that it will not stand as precedent, as it could seriously endanger journalists working in the public interest.”

Mr Miranda, the spouse of journalist Glenn Greenwald, was stopped and searched under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 on 18 August 2013. He had been carrying encrypted files and documents originating from Edward Snowden’s leak of information on the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programme.

A coalition of media and free speech organisations, including Index on Censorship, argued that it is inappropriate to use terror laws against someone such as Miranda, who was engaged in journalistic activity in transporting the documents intended to be used as source material for news stories in the public interest.

But the High Court today ruled that the use of the Terrorism Act did not infringe David Miranda’s right to free speech, or the rights of journalists to protect sources and materials. In his judgment, Lord Justice Laws ruled that the Schedule 7 detention of Miranda had been proportionate and did not “offend” his right to free speech under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Read the full judgment here

This article was published on 19 February 2014 at

Comments are closed.

Index logo white

Join us to protect and promote freedom of speech in the UK and across the world.
Since 1972, Index on Censorship has been leading the campaign for free expression.
Our award-winning magazine originally provided the platform for the untold stories of dissidents and resistance from behind the Iron Curtain and is now a home for some of the greatest campaigning writers of our age.
Journalistic freedom, artistic expression, the right to protest, the right to speak your mind, wherever you live.  These are the founding principles of Index on Censorship.
So join us, by subscribing to our newsletter or making a donation, to use your voice to ensure that everyone else can be heard too.
Go to the Index on Censorship home page