Photographer at wedding accused of taking pictures for terrorists
A photographer documenting the persecution of Irish travellers in the UK was herself subjected to police intimidation…on UN Human Rights Day.
The NUJ has condemned the abuse of the police’s stop and search powers after they forcibly took photograher Jess Hurd’s camera from her and detained her for 45 minutes under section 44 of the Terrorism Act whilst she was covering a traveller wedding in London Docklands, part of a long term documentary project on the persecution of travellers.
Whilst clearly photographing a wedding, the pictures of which appeared in Saturday’s Guardian newspaper, Jess was detained under s44 on the grounds she could be carrying out hostile reconnaissance for a terrorist assault.
NUJ General Secretary Jeremy Dear said: "This is yet another absurd misuse of the s44 powers which are designed to allow the police to detain those actively involved in carrying out a terrorist activity not to stop press photographers carrying out their legitimate business.
"Despite the government’s warm words about the right to photograph in public and new Home Office guidelines it appears the routine abuse of these powers goes on.
"How ironic that those documenting persecution and intimidation on UN Human Rights Day should be subject to such abuse and intimidation".
15 December 2008