Wife of United Kingdom scholar jailed for life in UAE blames London

Matthew Hedges 31 was detained at Dubai Airport on 5 May and accused of spying in the UAE

Matthew Hedges 31 was detained at Dubai Airport on 5 May and accused of spying in the UAE

The wife of a British academic who was jailed by a UAE court on spying charges called on the Emirati authorities on Thursday to review her husband's life sentence and set him free.

The UK government said that it had not seen any evidence that Hedges is a spy and that there would be "serious diplomatic consequences" for the UAE, usually seen as an ally.

Prime Minister Theresa May told a session of parliament she was "deeply disappointed" and instructed the Foreign Office to "continue to press this matter at the highest level with the Emiratis".

A law chief in the Gulf federation said the case had been "thoroughly investigated" and warned the government "does not attempt to interfere in court cases".

Hedges said he was in the UAE to research the effect of the Arab Spring pro-democracy uprisings on the country's foreign policy.

The ambassador's comments came a day after British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he had held constructive talks about the case with his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed.

"He has assured me that he and his team are doing everything in their power to get Matt free and return him home to me", she said.

Daniela Tejada hit out at the Foreign Office, shortly after returning to the United Kingdom from Abu Dhabi, where she saw her husband, Matthew Hedges, jailed for life.

"I asked him to look at me if he was feeling too nervous and he tried to do so on a couple of occasions but he was asked to face the judge", Daniela Tejada, wife of academic Matthew Hedges, told the BBC's "Today" programme.

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Abdulla Al Naqbi, head of the ministry's Department of Legal Affairs, had said that "families also have the right to appeal for presidential clemency on behalf of convicted relatives".

"Matt was held in an undisclosed location in solitary confinement for over five months, with no charge, no lawyer and very limited consular access", Tejada said.

Speaking earlier in London, Mr Almazroui said: "Matthew Hedges was not convicted after a five-minute show trial, as some have reported. Both sides hope to find an amicable solution to the Matthew Hedges case".

He had been arrested at Dubai airport on May 5.

The statement rejected claims that Mr Hedges was forced to sign a document in Arabic that has been used as the "confession" and said he was provided with translators.

Hunt said he would meet Tejada on Thursday.

"However, I believe that the initial case of Matt's situation was poorly handled in the sense that it was not treated with the seriousness that it should have, in spite of me insisting on the underlying causes of his detention".

United Kingdom foreign minister Jeremy Hunt tweeted on Wednesday that the United Kingdom government had "seen no evidence to back up charges against" Hedges.

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