UAE says British student sentenced for spying ‘treated fairly’

Matthew Hedges, right, with his wife Daniela Tejada in this undated picture. (Detained in Dubai /AFP)
Updated 23 November 2018
0

UAE says British student sentenced for spying ‘treated fairly’

  • ‘We can confirm that he was sentenced to life in prison’
  • Matthew Hedges was researching the UAE’s foreign and internal security policies when he was detained at Dubai airport

DUBAI: The UAE said on Thursday British academic Matthew Hedges has been treated "fairly," and that it was determined to protect its important and strategic relationship with key ally Britain.

Matthew Hedges was sentenced to life in prison on charges of spying for the British government on Wednesday in a move described as "deeply disappointing" by Prime Minister Theresa May.

"Matthew Hedges has been treated fairly and according to the constitution of the UAE," a statement from the Gulf state's foreign ministry said.

It added Hedges was provided with translators and "it is not true that he was asked to sign documents he did not understand."

"Officials from both countries have discussed the matter regularly over recent months. Both sides hope to find an amicable solution to the Matthew Hedges case," the statement said.

 

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Wednesday that he was “deeply shocked and disappointed” by the decision of the UAE court.

“Today’s verdict is not what we expect from a friend and trusted partner of the United Kingdom and runs contrary to earlier assurances,” he said.

Hedges, a 31-year-old PhD student, was researching the UAE’s foreign and internal security policies after the Arab Spring revolutions of 2011 when he was detained at Dubai airport on May 5.

He was granted temporary release on October 29 but constantly monitored until Wednesday’s court hearing, only his third since his arrest.

UAE attorney general Hamad Al-Shamsi said earlier this month that Hedges was accused of “spying for a foreign country, jeopardizing the military, political and economic security of the state.”

UAE's foreign ministry said that Hedges has been treated "fairly and according to the country's constitution," determined to protect its important and strategic relationship with key ally Britain. It added that translators were provided for Hedges and said, "it is not true that he was asked to sign documents he did not understand."

Hedges has repeatedly denied the charges.

According to The National newspaper, a life sentence for a foreigner entails a maximum of 25 years in jail and is followed by deportation.


Bahrain says conference co-hosted with US aimed at helping Palestinians

Updated 21 May 2019
0

Bahrain says conference co-hosted with US aimed at helping Palestinians

DUBAI: Bahrain said Tuesday a peace conference it is co-hosting next month with the US is aimed at helping the Palestinians, who have criticized the kingdom for failing to consult them about the event.
The conference “serves no other purpose” than to help the Palestinian people “through developing their abilities and enhancing their resources,” said Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa.
The kingdom “remains supportive of the brotherly Palestinian people in restoring their legitimate rights on their land as well as establishing an independent state with east Jerusalem as its capital,” Bahrain’s top diplomat said in a statement.
The White House announced Sunday it would co-host the June 25-26 conference with Bahrain focusing on economic aspects of the long-delayed US peace plan, with the declared aim of achieving Palestinian prosperity.
“We were not consulted by any party on the announced meeting to take place in Manama, Bahrain,” Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization, said in a statement.
“We have not mandated any party to negotiate on our behalf.”
The Palestinians have boycotted the US administration since President Donald Trump broke with decades of consensus and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017.
They consider the eastern part of the city the capital of their future state and have shown little interest in the US peace plan, which they fear will be heavily biased in favor of Israel.
Dubbed “Peace for Prosperity,” the conference is expected to bring together leaders from several governments, civil society and the business sector.
Trump’s office said the conference was a “pivotal opportunity... to share ideas, discuss strategies, and galvanize support for potential economic investments and initiatives that could be made possible by a peace agreement.”
The Palestinians see this as offering financial rewards in exchange for accepting ongoing Israeli occupation.
“Attempts at promoting an economic normalization of the Israeli occupation of Palestine will be rejected,” Erekat said.