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Espionage

British student charged with spying in UAE granted bail, says wife

  • Daniela Tejada insists Matthew Hedges is innocent and was being held in solitary confinement with limited access to UK consulate and family
  • Foreign Office in London said it does not comment on ‘intelligence matters’
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2018, 4:48pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2018, 4:48pm

A British student charged with spying in the United Arab Emirates has been released pending his next court hearing in the Gulf country, his wife said on Tuesday.

Matthew Hedges, a 31-year-old PhD student, was researching the UAE’s foreign and internal security policies after the so-called Arab spring uprisings of 2011 when he was detained at Dubai airport on May 5.

“Matthew Hedges has been temporarily released, with constant monitoring, from the location he was being held, until November 21, 2018, for his next court hearing,” his wife Daniela Tejada said in a statement. “I of course welcome this development. However, I cannot allow myself to get too excited by this information as Matt is not fully free yet.

“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 [British] and UAE authorities to ensure that he’s protected during this time.”

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She has said he was being held in solitary confinement at an undisclosed location with limited access to the British consulate and his family.

Tejada insisted her husband was innocent.

UAE attorney general Hamad al-Shamsi said earlier this month Hedges was accused of “spying for a foreign country, jeopardising the military, political and economic security of the state”.

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A spokesman for the Foreign Office in London said on Tuesday: “We are monitoring developments closely and have made the Emirati authorities aware of all our concerns.

“We continue to do everything we can for Matthew and his family. It is the long-standing policy of successive UK governments not to comment on intelligence matters.”