The british scholar Matthew Hedges, 31 years old, was sentenced on Wednesday by the federal court of Abu Dhabi to life imprisonment for espionage, as announced by its family and corroborated a judicial declaration published by the state newspaper emiratí The National. The british prime minister, Theresa May, stated in the House of Commons that his Government was “deeply disappointed and concerned by the verdict,” and that was trying the issue at the highest level with the united Arab Emirates.MORE INFORMATION on The blockage of Skype in Uae disconnects to millions of immigrants, the united Arab Emirates announces an alliance with Saudi Arabia that questions the Gulf Cooperation Council The Uae are seeking a british man implicated in the murder of a leader of Hamas in Dubai
The doctoral candidate of the University of Durham, in the north west of England, was arrested at the airport in Dubai on the 5th of may, after a two-week trip to the United Arab Emirates to conduct interviews on foreign policy and security strategy of the country.
In October, the prosecutor general emiratí, Hamad al Shamsi, had announced that Hedges should be tried in Abu Dhabi “under accusations of espionage for a foreign country... [which put] at risk the security of military, political and economic of the State.” According to the prosecutor, Hedges used his status of researcher as an excuse. The british had been released on bail on 29 October with a bracelet electronics after spending five months in solitary confinement.bilateral Relations
“I Am totally shocked and I don't know what to do. Matthew is innocent”, said Wednesday the wife of Hedges, Daniela Tejada, who was present in the court. The trial lasted less than five minutes, and the defense attorney was not present, in agreement with the family of the british. According to the media emiratíes, Hedges has 30 days to appeal the court decision. The sentence of life imprisonment against foreign citizens involves a maximum of 25 years in prison in the united Arab Emirates, after which it proceeds to the deportation of the accused, according to the newspaper, The National.
“This verdict is not what we expected of a friend and trusted partner of the Uk and goes against the assurances received,” said the british Foreign minister Jeremy Hunt in a statement sent to the agence-France Presse. Hunt stressed having mentioned the case of Matthew Hedges to the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohamed bin Zayed road. The minister also stated that the handling of the case by the authorities emiratíes would have implications in the relations between the two countries.