British national, Matthew Hedges has been sentenced a lifetime imprisonment by United Arab Emirates (UAE). The verdict was given to him after a court in Abu Dhabi declared him guilty of ‘spying for or on behalf of” the UK government.
31 years old Matthew Hedges is a Ph.D. student at Durham University, in England. He denies the allegations and said that he is only doing some research. He was arrested in Dubai airport on May 5 after his research trip. He had been held in a solitary confinement for almost 6 months but was able to bail just last month.
Nikita Bernardi who is the spokeswoman for the Hedges family gave an information about the case of Matthew. Nikita said that in a five-minute hearing held, Matthew does not have legal representation and was sentenced a life in prison. Foreign media were not allowed from the hearing earlier and was only told the verdict by the family. Even UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was shocked and at the same time disappointed with the verdict. It was not what he was expecting after raising the case to the highest levels of the UAE government.
“Today’s verdict is not what we expected from a friend and trusted partner of the United Kingdom and runs contrary to earlier assurances,” Hunt said.
Jeremy Hunt is urging UAE to reconsider the case as this will put a scar between UK and UAE and affect the relationship between the two countries.
On the other hand, the UAE attorney general, Hamad Al Shamsi released a statement last October 15 that a British national has been charged with spying for the Foreign State, risking the military, economy and political security of UAE.
According to Matthew’s wife, Daniela Tejada, Matthew is just conducting some research for his thesis examining relations in the wake of the Arab Spring.
Matthew is said to be having poor mental health and Daniela criticized the lack of treatment his husband is receiving in the prison.
“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.”