UAE court hands down life sentence for spying to UK citizen

“The hearing lasted less than five minutes, and his lawyer was not present,” a spokesperson told AFP. (AFP)

A UAE court sentenced British citizen Matthew Hedges to life in prison on Wednesday, after he was charged with spying last month, two sources with knowledge of the decision told Reuters.

Hedges, a 31-year-old doctoral student at Durham University, has been held in the UAE since May 5, when he was arrested at Dubai airport after a two-week research visit.

He appeared in court, accompanied by his wife, Daniele Tejada, and officials from the British Embassy to hear his sentence, according to the National.

The full statement from the court, translated from Arabic read: "The Federal Appeals Court of Abu Dhabi sentenced Matthew Hedges, 31, to life imprisonment after being convicted of spying on the UAE and providing sensitive security and intelligence information to third parties. The court also ruled that he would be deported from the country after the execution of the sentence and would be charged the costs of the legal case. The court ordered the confiscation of all his equipment, devices, research and studies. The convicted person has the right to challenge the ruling with the State Security Department of the Federal Supreme Court within a maximum period of 30 days."

UAE Attorney General Hamad Al Shamsi said that "during questioning, Mr Hedges admitted to the claims against him, which were identical to evidence and information gained from his own electronic devices and investigations conducted by the UAE’s security agencies."

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:51 - GMT 06:51