LONDON (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates signaled on Friday a British academic it jailed for all times on spying prices could be freed after his household appealed for clemency in a case that has strained ties between the longstanding allies.
United Arab Emirates Ambassador Sulaiman Hamid Almazroui addresses the media on the UAE embassy in London, Britain, November 23, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville
Matthew Hedges, 31, was sentenced on Wednesday on prices of spying for the British authorities, in a transfer described as deeply disappointing by Prime Minister Theresa May.
“Mr Hedges’ family have made a request for clemency and the government is studying that request,” the UAE’s ambassador to London, Sulaiman Hamid Almazroui, stated.
“We have an extremely close partnership with the UK,” he instructed reporters. “Because of the strength of that relationship we are hopeful that an amicable solution can be reached.”
The doctoral pupil at Durham University has been held since May 5, when he was arrested at Dubai International Airport after a two-week analysis go to.
“We have asked for clemency – we will wait to see what happens,” Hedges’ spouse Daniela Tejada instructed Reuters after the ambassador spoke. She denies he’s a spy.
His household have solid him as a gifted researcher who fell foul of the UAE’s safety and justice system. The UAE solid him as a British spy who was given a good trial for grave espionage offences.
“We hope the UAE now looks favourably on the family’s request for clemency,” a spokeswoman for Britain’s Foreign Office stated.
The Gulf state doesn’t dictate verdicts to its courts and there was full and correct authorized course of in Hedges’ case, the ambassador stated. There had not been a “five minute show trial” as he stated some media had reported.
“This was an extremely serious case. We live in a dangerous neighborhood and national security must be a top priority,” stated Almazroui, including that everybody had the best to request a pardon.
“This was an unusual case: many researchers visit the UAE freely every year without breaking our laws,” he stated.
Hedges’ household stated the proof introduced towards him consisted of notes from his dissertation analysis.
“Matt was held in an undisclosed location in solitary confinement for over 5 months, with no charge, no lawyer and very limited consular access,” his spouse stated.
“The judicial system in the UAE and the UK cannot be compared. I was in the courtroom and the hearing lasted less than 5 minutes,” she added.
A life sentence for a non-Emirati entails a most of 25 years in jail adopted by deportation, in line with UAE state-run media.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt had warned that the decision could damage relations with the UAE.
Editing by Alistair Smout and Stephen Addison, William Maclean