Matthew Hedges: British academic pardoned by UAE

UAE- British academic Matthew Hedges, who was jailed for spying in the United Arab Emirates, has been pardoned with immediate effect.

Hedges, 31, has always denied the allegations of spying and said he was doing researching for his PhD and according to prosecutors said he confessed.

His wife, Daniela Tejada, appealed for clemency, told Reuters she was “elated” and “cannot wait to have Matt back home”.

The UAE said the reason for the pardon was part of numerous orders issued on the country’s National Day anniversary.

Tejada speaking to BBC Radio’s 4 programme, “It’s taken me by surprise and I’m just so happy and so relieved and really incredulous that it is all happening finally.

“It’s been an absolutely nightmarish seven months already and I can’t wait to have him back home.”

UAR Prosecutors said Hedges had admitted to the charges at an Abu Dhabi court, the court found him guilty of “spying for or on behalf of” the UK government, and was jailed for life last week.

Hedges maintained his innocent, and confirmed by Durham University, he was researching the country’s security strategy as part of his PhD studies.

Politician and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth affairs, Jeremy Hunt tweeted: “Fantastic news about Matthew Hedges.

“Although we didn’t agree with charges we are grateful to UAE government for resolving issue speedily.”

Hedges’ family previously said that during the first six weeks of his detention he had been interrogated without a lawyer and consular access was unavailable.

Hedges can not speak Arabic, he was forced to sign a document which transpired to be a confession, the family claimed.

Photo credit- The National

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