202.5

The Latest: Britain ‘perplexed’ but pleased over UAE pardon

FILE - In this undated family photo, showing Matthew Hedges with his wife Daniela Tejada. The 31-year-old British academic Matthew Hedges was arrested May 5, 2018, at Dubai Airport and subsequently convicted and sentenced to life in prison for espionage. The United Arab Emirates Ambassador in London Sulaiman Hamid Almazroui said Friday Nov. 23, 2018, that his government is studying whether to grant clemency to Hedges. (Daniela Tejada via AP, FILE)

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on the British academic Matthew Hedges convicted of spying in the United Arab Emirates (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

Britain’s foreign secretary has thanked the United Arab Emirates for pardoning Matthew Hedges while still challenging charges that the British academic is a spy.

Jeremy Hunt said on Monday that the U.K. is “deeply perplexed” by the charge leveled against Hedges.

Hunt says: “We’ve seen no evidence to support these accusations against Matthew Hedges.”

He added: “But today we want to thank them (the UAE) for the fact that they’ve reflected upon the strong representations we have made.”

Hedges’ wife Daniela Tejada has also denies he was involved in espionage.

___

3 p.m.

United Arab Emirates says a British researcher, convicted of spying in the Gulf Arab country and then pardoned, has been released.

Jaber al-Lamki, an official with the UAE’s National Media Council, confirmed that Matthew Hedges had been released on Monday.

Al-Lamki declined to comment further.

___

1 p.m.

Britain’s top diplomat has welcomed the United Arab Emirates’ decision to grant a pardon to accused spy Matthew Hedges.

Jeremy Hunt tweeted on Monday that it was “Fantastic news about Matthew Hedges.”

He says Britain didn’t agree with the charges against Hedges but adds: “We are grateful to UAE government for resolving issue speedily.”

Hunt had lobbied senior UAE official for Hedges’ release.

___

12:50 p.m.

The wife of accused British spy Matthew Hedges says she is “absolutely elated” that he has received a pardon.

Daniela Tejada told BBC on Monday morning, when word of the pardon reached Britain, that she does not believe her husband is a spy.

She says: “I can’t wait to have him back” and added, “In my heart, I know that he isn’t a spy.”

Officials in the United Arab Emirates said the country has pardoned Hedges. The announcement came at a hastily convened press conference on Monday in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, where officials first showed a video in which Hedges is heard saying he is MI-6.

Emirati authorities showed the video after coming under increasing international pressure over Hedges’ life sentence, handed down last week.

___

12:20 p.m.

The United Arab Emirates has pardoned and will free a British academic sentenced to life in prison for spying after showing journalists a video of him purportedly saying he was a captain in British intelligence.

Authorities made the announcement on Monday about Matthew Hedges in a hastily called news conference in Abu Dhabi, the UAE capital.

They said UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued the clemency for Hedges on Sunday with hundreds of others.

Authorities say Hedges will be allowed out of the country once procedures securing his release are complete.

___

12:15 p.m.

Emirati officials have shown a video to reporters of a British national convicted for spying, saying he is a captain in MI-6.

At a news conference on Monday in Abu Dhabi, Emirati officials showed the video of Mathew Hedges, a 31-year-old doctorate student in Middle Eastern studies at Durham University.

The video, which Emirati officials did not allow journalists to record, shows Hedges describing himself as a captain in MI-6 during what appears to be a court hearing in the Gulf Arab country.

Another clip appears to show Hedges speaking to someone in an office and saying: “It helps the research to go in in an easy way.”

Then, Hedges is seen snapping his fingers and adds: “Then it becomes MI-6.”

Emirati authorities showed the video after coming under increasing international pressure over Hedges’ life sentence, handed down last week.

Copyright © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.



Advertiser Content