Connect with us

Europe

The UAE Pardons British “Spy” Matthew Hedges; UK Relieved

Published

on

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has pardoned British “spyMatthew Hedges just days after sentencing him to life-prison for spying in a case that shocked the UK and his family members.

The UK thanked its Gulf ally and Hedges’s wife expressed her joy after he was among more than 700 prisoners pardoned by UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan for next month’s National Day.

“Mr Hedges will be permitted to leave the UAE once formalities are completed,” Jaber al-Lamki, a government media official, said in a statement. The UAE showed footage at a news conference in the capital Abu Dhabi in which Hedges purportedly confessed to being an MI6 foreign intelligence agent.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt expressed gratitude to the oil-rich state, which London considers a strategic Middle East ally and supplies with British arms.

“Fantastic news about Matthew Hedges. Although we didn’t agree with charges we are grateful to UAE govt for resolving issue speedily,” Hunt said on Twitter.

Hedges’s wife Daniela Tejada, who last saw him on the day he was sentenced, said in a statement: “The presidential pardon for Matt is the best news we could have received. Our six-plus months of nightmare are finally over and to say we are elated is an understatement.”

Asked by BBC radio about the UAE’s repeated accusation that Hedges was a spy, Colombia-born Tejada said: “In my heart, I know that he isn’t”. But she added: “If that’s what it takes for him to be back, I welcome the news”.

Hunt said on BBC radio of the spying charges: “We have never seen any evidence that they are true”. Hunt said he expected Hedges to be released “very soon indeed”, adding that it was a “bittersweet moment” because of other Britons detained unjustly around the world.

Hedges, a 31-year-old researcher at Durham University, was detained in Dubai while researching the UAE’s foreign and internal security policies after the Arab Spring revolutions of 2011.

He was sentenced to life in jail by a court in Abu Dhabi last week after he was convicted of spying for a foreign country. Lamki said that Hedges was “a 100-per cent secret service agent and was convicted of espionage.”

He said Hedges confessed to gathering information about the UAE ruling family, military and its involvement in the Yemen War.

“He confirmed he collected sensitive and classified information about the UAE,” he said, calling the evidence “irrefutable”.

Hedges’s role was “to gather classified information about the UAE military capabilities … and sensitive information on UAE key government figures including members of the UAE ruling families,” he said.

Hedges was arrested on May 5 at Dubai airport.

Lamki said a lawyer had been appointed to defend Hedges who was also allowed to speak to his family repeatedly during his detention. The presidential pardon came in response to a letter by Hedges’s family delivered by a British official, he said.

UAE state minister for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said the pardon allowed the two countries to refocus to developing their relations.

“It was always a UAE hope that this matter would be resolved through the common channels of our longstanding partnership. This was a straightforward matter that became unnecessarily complex despite the UAE’s best efforts,” he said in a statement.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

FEATURED

US-CHNA-WORLD-WAR US-CHNA-WORLD-WAR
Americas5 hours ago

Why Is The US Developing A New Military Base Right Next To Its Biggest Airbase Near China?

With its eyes on China, the US Department of Defense (DoD) will build an alternative military base on Tinian island,...

Americas5 hours ago

The US ‘Apple’ Turns Sour As China’s Xiaomi Heads For Global Domination In Smartphone Markets

Xiaomi replaced Apple for the first time to reach the third spot globally, after Samsung and Huawei, in the list...

AIRLINES AIRLINES
Americas8 hours ago

Sydney To New York In 2 Hours: China Could Make This Possible With New Hypersonic Aircraft Engine

China claims to have made a breakthrough in developing a ‘sodramjet’ engine that could provide an aircraft with such speeds...

Boris-Johnson Boris-Johnson
Americas9 hours ago

More F-35 Stealth Jets Join The British Royal Air Force After PM Boris Johnson’s Defense Budget Hike

Days after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a massive increase in the country’s defense budget, the delivery of another...

russia-japan-tourism russia-japan-tourism
EurAsian Region9 hours ago

Watch: Russian Firm Kalashnikov Finally Unveils AKV-521 Rifle With New Fire Selector

Putting all speculation to rest, Russian defense manufacturing firm, Kalashnikov Concern, has officially unveiled its new AKV-521 rifle.  The US...

Featured13 hours ago

Indian Aircraft Carrier Vikrant Gears Up For Commissioning As Rafales Compete Against F-18s As Its ‘Flying Machines’

The Indian Navy has completed basin trials for its first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-1) Vikrant, the Defense Ministry said on...

J-11-CHINA J-11-CHINA
Asia Pacific15 hours ago

Chinese J-11 Fighter Jets Conduct Large-Scale War Drills Near Indian Border – WATCH

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has conducted a series of extensive exercises with warplanes around a Western Theater Command Air...

Featured18 hours ago

Four Time Faster Than US’ Tomahawks, Why Indian BrahMos Missiles Pose A Grave Risk To China?

The Indian Navy on Tuesday successfully test-fired the anti-ship version of the supersonic cruise missile, BrahMos from stealth destroyer INS...

Asia Pacific19 hours ago

India Falls Back On European Fighter Jets To Counter Rising Menace Of Chinese Swarm Drones

To counter Chinese air defenses in Ladakh and other bordering areas, India has decided to fast-track its swarm drone system,...

S-500-RUSSIA S-500-RUSSIA
Americas1 day ago

Bad News For F-35 Jets; Russia Set To Unveil ‘Stealth-Killer’ S-500 Missile Systems Next Year

US military experts would be watching anxiously as Russia is all set to enhance its most advanced S-400 missile system...

Advertisement
Advertisement