Prime Minister Theresa May is “deeply disappointed” that a UAE court had sentenced British academic Matthew Hedges to life in prison on charges of spying.
“We are of course deeply disappointed and concerned at today’s verdict,” May told parliament, adding: “We are raising it with the Emirati authorities at the highest level.”
Hedges, a student at Durham University who went to the country to research his PhD thesis, was handed the sentence at an Abu Dhabi court in a hearing that lasted less than five minutes, and with no lawyer present.
Hedges’ wife Daniela Tejada, who was present at the courtroom, said she was in “complete shock.”
— Daniela Tejada (@dtejadav) November 20, 2018
“This has been the worst six months of my life, let alone for Matt who was shaking when he heard the verdict,” she said in a statement. “The UAE authorities should feel ashamed for such an obvious injustice. Our nightmare has gotten even worse.”
“Matthew is innocent. The Foreign Office know this and have made it clear to the UAE authorities that Matthew is not a spy for them. This whole case has been handled appallingly from the very beginning with no one taking Matthew’s case seriously. The British Government must take a stand now for Matthew, one of their citizen,” she added.