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Wife of student held in UAE urges UK to lobby for his release

The spouse of a Durham College PhD scholar who has been held in solitary confinement within the United Arab Emirates for just about six months has denied he’s a secret agent and referred to as at the International Place of work to “actively recommend for his freedom”.

Matthew Hedges, 31, was once arrested at Dubai world airport on five Would possibly on his means house from a two-week analysis commute and was once hung on what seem to be espionage fees.

After breaking with International Place of work recommendation to depend on personal diplomatic channels to protected his unencumber, his spouse, Daniela Tejada, informed BBC Radio four’s As of late programme that her husband suffered from nervousness and melancholy and have been compelled to sleep at the ground for 4 months.

She mentioned the concept that he was once a secret agent was once absurd, declaring he have been travelling round Dubai with a tape recorder and microphone.

“If he was once a secret agent he could be a horrible one,” she mentioned. “What sort of secret agent is going to a rustic with a questionnaire, a dictaphone and asks questions overtly? If he was once given any confidential knowledge, it isn’t his fault, it’s the fault of whoever gave it to him.”

Hedges has been allowed two visits via International Place of work officers and one consult with via his spouse. Jeremy Hunt, the international secretary, mentioned on Thursday he was once “extraordinarily involved” about Hedges’ case. He tweeted: “Have raised two times with international minister and wired the will for normal consular get admission to, honest & humane remedy in addition to due procedure which is very important.”

Kristian Ulrichsen, a fellow instructional on the Baker Institute for Public Coverage, mentioned: “Matt is a pal and one of the crucial sharpest analysts I do know. He’s no secret agent.”

Hedges was once arrested after an Emirati it seems that reported him to the government for “asking delicate questions on some delicate departments” and “in the hunt for to collect categorised knowledge at the UAE”.

He was once researching facets of the UAE’s international and home safety technique, together with the conflict in Yemen. The UAE, like many Gulf states, is extra tolerant socially than politically, accepting little inside complaint.

Emirati press claimed Hedges had confessed to the fees in opposition to him and the case have been handed to the state safety courtroom. There is not any unbiased affirmation of this declare. Hedges has been delivered to courtroom in Abu Dhabi two times this month, on three and 10 October, and the case was once adjourned on each events.

It’s most probably UAE prosecutors imagine he was once making ready at hand knowledge to a international energy, in all probability Qatar, with which the UAE is at odds.

Tejada mentioned she had no longer but been prompt of the fees he was once dealing with. In her radio interview she mentioned: “I attempted to observe the International Place of work recommendation and no longer move to the media, however after just about six months of such a lot injustice being performed in opposition to Matt I simply felt I may just not resist my ache and his personal and let issues run their route.”

She mentioned her husband was once most commonly being held in solitary confinement, with none get admission to to books.

Amnesty Global referred to as for Hedges’ rapid unencumber. “It’s sadly all too not unusual for the Emirati government to carry folks incommunicado for months on finish,” mentioned Polly Truscott, of Amnesty. “If [Hedges] is being held merely for having carried out instructional analysis into the rustic’s safety services and products, he will have to be launched straight away.”

Experiences started circulating in Emirati media ultimate month that spying allegations had been being introduced in opposition to an unnamed foreigner who had requested “delicate questions on some delicate departments” and “[sought] to collect categorised knowledge at the UAE” for a international company.

Durham College mentioned it was once “significantly involved” for Hedges’ welfare. Its faculty of presidency and world affairs, the place Hedges is primarily based, has banned all scholar analysis go back and forth to the UAE till the explanations for his detention had been established.

The UAE’s govt media place of work didn’t straight away reply to requests for remark.

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