PhD student released on bail in UAE

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A Durham University PhD student charged with spying by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been released on bail.

Matthew Hedges, a 31-year-old Hatfield student, was reportedly held in solitary confinement for nearly six months, after being arrested on May 5th at Dubai Airport.

Hedges, who denies accusations of spying for the UK government, has been released but must remain in the UAE until his next trial on 21st November.

He has not been given his passport and must wear an ankle monitor.

Hedges’ wife, Daniela Tejada, said her husband was tired and “shocked by everything” but was in good spirits and is “glad to be breathing fresh air”.

The PhD student had travelled to the United Arab Emirates to conduct interviews regarding the Arab Spring’s impact on the UAE’s foreign policy and security strategy when he was accused of spying.

Hedges and his family have maintained that he is entirely innocent of these charges.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office has said it is “monitoring developments closely and have made the Emirati authorities aware of all our concerns”.

“Our staff are in close contact with Matthew’s wife, Daniela, offering her all possible support at what we appreciate is a hugely difficult time.”

A joint statement published last week by Durham and Exeter Universities said: “Durham and Exeter Universities are deeply concerned about the welfare of Matthew (Matt) Hedges, following his detention and impending trial in the United Arab Emirates
(UAE).

“Matt is suffering from significant health issues after more than five months in detention. His welfare and right to a fair trial are now the overriding concerns of both Durham and Exeter Universities. “

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