The United Arab Emirates has today pardoned Matthew Hedges, the British academic jailed for life on spying charges, just minutes after showing a video of him purportedly confessing to being a member of UK intelligence agency MI6.
BREAKING UAE issues Presidential pardon for Matthew Hedges, UAE continues to maintain he was operating as a spy for the UK.
— Niall Paterson (@skynewsniall) November 26, 2018
The UAE president issued the pardon as part of a mass clemency of more than 700 prisoners to mark the country’s National Day, according to a statement carried by state news agency WAM.
Britain’s foreign minister welcomed the move, saying the UK government had not agreed with the charges against Hedges but was grateful to the UAE for resolving the issue speedily.
Hedges has been held since May 5, when he was arrested at Dubai International Airport after a two-week research visit. His wife tweeted this morning:
The presidential pardon for Matt is the best news we could’ve received. Thank you friends, family, media, academics, and the wider public for your undivided support – I’ve been brought back to life. pic.twitter.com/vruok0ST6O
— Daniela Tejada (@dtejadav) November 26, 2018