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Matthew Hedges says UAE forced false confession, drugged him

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matthew hedges
An
undated photo of Matthew Hedges supplied by his
wife.

Daniela Tejada via
Reuters


  • A British student who was convicted of spying by the
    United Arab Emirates said he was forced to sign a false
    confession and was psychologically tortured.
  • Matthew Hedges, a PhD student, was accused by the UAE
    of being an agent of Britain’s MI6. He ws pardoned after
    intense diplomatic pressure from London.
  • Hedges and the UK government have denied that he is a
    spy. Hedges say he falsely admitted being a spy under extreme
    duress.
  • He said he the interrogation process included being
    given a dangerous cocktail of anti-anxiety drugs and forced to
    go through withdrawal.

A British student who was sentenced by the UAE to life in prison
for allegedly being a spy says he was drugged in prison, forced
to sign a false confession, and was bribed to betray his country.

Matthew Hedges, a 31-year-old PhD student in Middle Eastern
studies at Durham University, was pardoned by the UAE in November
after being detained
at Dubai Airport in May.

Both Hedges and the UK
government deny
that Hedges has worked as a spy or for MI6.
And in an interview with British newspaper
The Times
after his return to the UK, Hedges said that he
only gave the confession that his interrogators demanded after he
was repeatedly threatened.

“After all that pressure, I said, ‘OK, fine, whatever, yeah
sure,” he said.

He said he then felt more afraid: “I was so scared and on
edge, because I’d started the lie.”

Hedges said that the interrogation, where UAE agents repeatedly
accused him of working for MI6 and demanded to know more about
his PhD thesis, left him having “panic attacks for two or three
days in a row.”


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
hearing


He said that his interrogators offered him a bargain if he agreed
to become a double agent and steal documents from the UK’s
Foreign Office.

I started having a panic attack, I was like ‘How am I
supposed to get this information?'”

He said that they threatened: “We will take you to an
overseas military base where you’ll be kept in a prison and
you’ll be beaten and tortured and you’ll never see the daylight
again.”


Matthew Hedges
Matthew Hedges with his
wife, Daniela Tejada.

aniela Tejada
via AP


Hedges also said that he was put on a cocktail of Xanax,
Valium, and benzodiazepine after his wife, Daniela Tejada, told
the UAE authorities that he had been diagnosed with depression
and anxiety.

But doctors say that that is an alarming situation,
according to The Times. He was forced to go cold turkey during a
stay in a hospital and appeared in court in his withdrawn state.
Hedges said that one doctor told him “he was surprised that I was
still able to talk.”

He said that he chose to sleep in darkness for up to 23
hours a day after suffering migraines from the fluorescent
lights, that he slept on the floor for weeks, and that made
himself vomit three times a day to relieve stress.

Hedges said that he was approached by 10 Emirati officials
in Dubai airport in May after having coffee with his mother. He
says the officials took out a blindfold and handcuffs.

He said he was detained in an interrogation room in a state
security office in the Al Muroor police station, where
interrogation sessions could last up to 15 hours and sometimes
involved him being made to stand in ankle cuffs.

“I was never physically tortured, but it was psychological,
and it felt like torture,” Hedges said.

Read More:

The UAE pardoned a British student sentenced to life in
prison after showing a purported confession video where he says
he works for MI6

Emirati officials
showed clips at a news conference
in which Hedges reportedly
appears to confess to being a captain in MI6 and discuss his
research related to the British spy agency. Journalists were not
allowed to record or publish the videos.

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