UAE appeals court sentences Matthew Hedges to life in prison
Matthew Hedges, 31, sentenced to life for spying and supplying sensitive information to external actors, family says. A court in the United Arab Emirates has sentenced British student Matthew Hedges to life in prison after he was convicted of spying and supplying sensitive security information to external actors. Abu Dhabi’s Federal Court of Appeal handed down the verdict on Wednesday, a move described as deeply disappointing by British Prime Minister Theresa May. “We can confirm that he was sentenced to life in prison. The hearing lasted less than five minutes, and his lawyer was not present,” Hedges’ family spokesperson told AFP news agency. Hedges, a 31-year-old PhD student at Durham University, was arrested on May 5 at Dubai airport after a two-week research visit. He was researching the UAE’s foreign and internal security policies after the Arab Spring revolutions of 2011 when he was detained. Hedges was formally charged in October with spying on the Gulf state, where he has been held in solitary confinement for the past six months. “I am in complete shock and I don’t know what to do. Matthew is innocent,” said Hedges wife, Daniela Tejada, who was present in the courtroom. ” The UAE authorities should feel ashamed for such an obvious injustice,” she said in a statement, adding that her husband was shaking when he heard the verdict. “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.