Matthew Hedges: British academic convicted of spying is pardoned by UAE

The British student sentenced to life in jail in the United Arab Emirates after being convicted of spying for the UK government has been pardoned.

Matthew Hedges, a 31-year-old doctoral student at Durham University, was convicted last Wednesday in a move described as deeply disappointing by Theresa May.

He has been held in the UAE since May 5, when he was arrested at Dubai International Airport after a two-week research visit. The evidence presented against him consisted of notes from his dissertation research, Hedges' family has maintained.

They say he was made to sign a confession statement in Arabic that he did not understand and experienced deterioration in both his physical and mental health during his detention.

At the same time as releasing him, Emirati officials showed a video of the British national saying he is a captain in MI6.

On Thursday, Hedges' wife, Daniela Tejada, called on the Emirati authorities to review her husband's life sentence and set him free.

The Gulf state said Hedges had been treated "fairly" but also that it wanted an "amicable solution" in the case, which has shaken relations between two countries which are old allies.

The Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, last week warned the handling of the case by Emirati authorities would have repercussions on relations between the two countries and urged the UAE to reconsider its decision.

He said he had held a constructive conversation on Thursday with his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed.

"I believe and trust he's working hard to resolve the situation ASAP," Hunt added on Twitter.

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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