Crime

Exeter man accused of spying held in the UAE

Mathew Hedges from Exeter has been handed a jail sentence that will keep him in prison for life. The Exeter academic was sentenced to life in prison in the United Arab Emirates after jurist found him guilty of spying for the UK Government in the country.

Security officials detained Mr. Hedges at Dubai airport on May 5 this year. He was in the country to interview people on foreign policy and security in the region.

He was detained in solitary confinement since his arrest, raising serious fears over his welfare and health condition.

Following a campaign by the Foreign Office and his wife, Mr. Hedges was released on bail but rearrested and sentenced to life in prison by the UAE Federal Court. Skip

 

Mr. Hedges said he was in the UAE for his PhD research and has denied spying for the UK government.

 

The UK’s Foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, and Middle East minister Alistair Burt campaigned for Mr Hedge’s release.

Speaking ahead of the hearing, when Matthew was out on bail, his wife Daniela Tejada, 27, said: “Above everything, I hope that justice will be done and Matt is granted his rightful freedom – something that he’s been unjustly denied in the last six months.

“My main concern is his safety and I’d like to request the FCO and UAE authorities to ensure that he’s protected during this time.”

Daniela has expressed worries about her husband’s health given the circumstances of his detainment.

According to her, “What I can confirm is that my husband Matt has not received appropriate medical care and attention, especially in regard to his mental health.

“Matt has been kept in solitary confinement for over five months.

“Matt does not speak Arabic and is therefore unable to communicate fully with the court-appointed lawyer, who he has only met once, at his court hearing last week.

“Matt was in the UAE to carry out academic research for his PhD.

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“Since he was detained on May 5, 2018, he has only ever been granted two consular visits which is in direct violation of his rights.

“Matt is a man of integrity and principle. He has a brilliant academic mind and an impeccable track record.

“He is kind and caring and greatly loved and respected. Please release him and let him come home”

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