British man held in UAE on charges of ‘spying’

A British man is being held in solitary confinement in the UAE after being accused of spying for Qatar, Sky News reported today.

Thirty-one-year-old Matthew Hedges has been in solitary confinement for five months after he was arrested in Dubai airport in May. He was moved to Abu Dhabi following his detention.

Since his arrest, Hedges has been allowed one phone call to his mother, two visits from Foreign Office officials and one visit from his wife.

He appeared in court yesterday and was allowed to speak to his lawyer however his case was adjourned until 24 October.

Hedges’ wife, Daniela Tejada, said he was completing a PhD on Emirati security policies after the Arab Spring. He had been in the UAE for research for his course at Durham University.

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His colleagues believe he is suspected of spying for Qatar, which the UAE boycotted in 2017, but Tejada said: “We all know that is not true”.

Durham University’s vice-chancellor, Professor Stuart Corbridge, said: “We are aware that one of our PhD students, Matt Hedges, has been detained in Abu Dhabi.

“We have raised these concerns with the UK Ambassador to the UAE, the Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and local MPs, and we continue to offer our full assistance to efforts to bring Matt home safely and swiftly.”

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