Wife of jailed spy Matthew Hedges has asked the UAE for clemency

Matthew Hedges with his wife Daniela Tejada

Matthew Hedges with his wife Daniela Tejada

Hedges bagged the sentence after he was convicted of spying and supplying sensitive security info to external actors.

They said United Kingdom universities should urgently review their ties with the UAE in light of Hedges life imprisonment, and halt any planned projects, such as the University of Birminghams proposed £100 million (US$114 million) Dubai campus. She denies he is a spy.

Shezanne Cassim, who was jailed for nine months by the UAE for posting a satirical video on Youtube which parodied teenagers in Dubai, said: "The feelings of terror and utter helplessness are constant because there's no room in the UAE justice system to defend yourself - due process simply does not exist there".

Ms Tejada said: I am very hopeful that the UAE rulers will take into consideration Matt's family and my plea for his freedom.

There was outrage in Britain last week after Mr Hedges was found guilty following a five-minute trial.

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The UAE said on Friday that a pardon would be considered in the context of close relations between the Gulf state and the UK.

We live in a risky neighbourhood and national security must be a top priority.

"This was an unusual case: many researchers visit the UAE freely every year without breaking our laws", he said.

"Mr Hedges' family have made a request for clemency and the government is studying that request", he said.

The life sentence handed down to the PhD student has provoked a public outcry, with diplomatic efforts to secure his release being led by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

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