Matthew Hedges Bio, Matthew Hedges Wiki
Matthew Hedges Wiki: Matthew Hedges is a 31 years old British Ph.D. student from Durham University who has been sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of spying in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). According to him and the Durham University, he had been conducting research in UAE. The Life Sentence was handed at an Abu Dhabi court on Wednesday, 21st November 2018 in a hearing that lasted less than five minutes, with no lawyer present. Matthew Hedges was detained at Dubai Airport in May 2018.
Matthew Hedges Sentenced for Life in UAE
A court in Abu Dhabi has declared Matthew Hedges guilty of “spying for or on behalf of” the UK government and was sentenced to life imprisonment. The verdict came in a record time of less than five minutes with no lawyer present on Wednesday, 21st November 2018 in an Abu Dhabi court.
As per the Abu Dhabi newspaper The National, a life sentence means a maximum of 25 years in jail, after which Hedges would be deported.Hedges, who is also liable for the costs of the case, has 30 days to appeal during which time he will be held in custody, the paper reports.
The Newspaper also quotes Attorney General Dr Hamad Al Shamsi who said Hedges “admitted to the claims against him” during questioning.
Matthew Hedges Family Stance
The family claims the verdict is based on a false confession. In a statement Hedges’ family said during the first six weeks of his detention, he was interrogated without a lawyer and consular access was unavailable.
During this time, they said, he was made to sign a document in Arabic which it transpired was a confession.
“Matthew does not speak or read Arabic,” the family said.
Hedges’ wife, Daniela Tejada, who was present during the brief hearing earlier, said she was in “complete shock”.
She said: “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 and the UAE authorities should feel ashamed for such an obvious injustice”.
Daniela Tejada said her husband shook his head as the verdict was delivered, adding: “I am very scared for Matt. I don’t know where they are taking him or what will happen now. Our nightmare has gotten even worse.”
Matthew Hedges Statement from VC of Durham University
The Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, Professor Stuart Corbridge stated; “The conditions Hedges was held in breached his human rights and this judgment has been delivered in the absence of anything resembling a due process or a fair trial.”
He further added “There has been no information given on what basis Matt was handed this sentence and no reason to believe that Matt was conducting anything other than legitimate academic research. We are committed to doing what we can to get Matt home safely and swiftly.”
Matthew Hedges UK Reaction
The UK prime minister Theresa May said the UK was urgently seeking talks with the Emirati government.
Theresa May said Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt was “seeking a call with Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed”. The foreign secretary said he was “deeply shocked and disappointed” by the verdict.
He has raised the case with the “highest levels of the UAE government” and the verdict “is not what we expect from a friend and trusted partner of the United Kingdom and runs contrary to earlier assurances”.
At prime minister’s questions, Tory MP Crispin Blunt told Theresa May to make it clear to the UAE that “if he is not released, I don’t see why we should be committed to their defense”.