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Matthew Hedges pardoned after UAE shows purported MI6 confession video



matthew hedges
Hedges was sentenced to life in prison in the UAE on spying
charges. He has been pardoned.

Tejada via Reuters

  • The United Arab Emirates on Monday pardoned a British
    academic who was sentenced to life in prison on spying
  • Matthew Hedges was given his life sentence last week at
    a five-minute trial.
  • Emirati officials at a Monday news conference showed
    clips of Hedges purportedly confessing to being a captain of
    MI6 and discussing his research in relation to the British spy
  • Journalists weren’t allowed to record the
  • Hedges’ wife previously denied the espionage charges
    but said that she was “willing to admit to anything” to secure
    his freedom.

The United Arab Emirates pardoned Matthew Hedges, a British PhD
student who sentenced to life in prison on spying charges, on
Monday after showing videos of him purportedly confessing to
working for MI6.

Hedges, a 31-year-old doctoral student in Middle Eastern
studies at Durham University, has been in detention since he
at the Dubai airport in May
. He was sentenced to life in
prison during a five-minute hearing last Wednesday.

Read more:
The wife of a man imprisoned in the UAE says he wasn’t even
allowed to look at her as he was sentenced to life in a 5-minute

The UAE president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, pardoned
Hedges on Monday as part of the country’s National Day, effective
immediately, the state-run WAM news agency reported.

He was one of 785 convicts pardoned.

Emirati officials at a news conference on Monday also showed
footage of Hedges appearing to describe himself as a captain in
MI6, Britain’s foreign spy agency, during what looked like a
court hearing in the country, the Associated Press reported.

Another video showed Hedges speak to someone in an office and
saying: “It helps the research to go in in an easy way.” He is
then seen snapping his fingers and saying: “Then it becomes MI6.”

Journalists at the news conference were not allowed to record the
video being shown.

abu dhabi
Buildings in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the


Hedges had
no lawyer present
at his five-minute court hearing last
Wednesday. He was found “guilty of the crime of spying for and on
behalf of a foreign state, jeopardising the military, economic
and political security of the UAE,” WAM said.

UAE Attorney General Hamad Al Shamsi also said that during his
questioning, Hedges “admitted to the claims against him, which
were identical to evidence and information gained from his own
electronic devices and investigations conducted by the UAE’s
security agencies,”
according to the Al-Arabiya news channel
, which is funded by
the government of Saudi Arabia.

Matthew Hedges
Hedges with his wife,
Daniela Tejada, who denied his charges.

Daniela Tejada via AP

His wife, Daniela Tejada, denied that her husband was a spy. She
also said that she was “willing to admit to anything” as long as
he would be free.

She told
Britain’s Channel 4 news channel: “I’m willing to admit to
anything as long as I have my husband back with me… although we
all know he isn’t guilty of what he’s been accused of.”

UK Foreign Secretary 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.”

Anwar Gargash, the UAE foreign minister, said according to WAM:
“The gracious Presidential customary National Day pardon allows
us to close this chapter and to concentrate on the many positive
aspects of the relationship.”

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