BRITSH PhD student, Matthew Hedges, 31 from Exeter, has been given a presidential pardon in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) after being incarcerated for being a suspected M16 agent.
The pardon has come into effect immediately, and Mr. Hedges’ wife, Daniela Tejada, has gone on record to say she is “elated” after the news broke this morning.
The United Arab Emirates claimed Mr. Hedges was a member of intelligence agency MI6 and that the PhD student was spying on military systems in the country.
Mr Hedges’ current whereabouts remain unknown but his freedom was assured in a press conference this morning (Monday) during which it was announced the British student had received a Presidential pardon.
In the news conference an alleged video was screened which appeared to show Mr Hedges confessing to the charges against him, admitting he was indeed a member of MI6.
This alleged confession furthers the UAE’s claim that Mr Hedges was a “100% a full-time secret service operative”, covertly collecting economic and military based information on the nation.
Mr. Hedges was arrested at Dubai airport on May 5 of this year.
His release coincides with the United Arab Emirates 47th National Day which has seen 784 other prisoners pardoned.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the release of Mr Hedges is “fantastic news” but has continued to deny that Mr. Hedges was an MI6 operative: “Although we didn’t agree with charges we are grateful to UAE govt for resolving issue speedily.”
Mr. Hedges’ wife, Daniela Tejada released a statement:
“The presidential pardon for Matt is the best news we could have received. Our six plus months of nightmare are finally over and to say we are elated is an understatement.
“That he is returning home to me and the rest of his family is much more than I was ever expecting to happen this week.
“I thank you all for your support. Without the involvement of the media, the overwhelming support of academics, the public worldwide, the work of the British diplomatic body in the UAE and Secretary Hunt’s intervention, this would have never happened.”
The presidential pardon for Matt is the best news we could’ve received. Thank you friends, family, media, academics, and the wider public for your undivided support – I’ve been brought back to life. pic.twitter.com/vruok0ST6O
— Daniela Tejada (@dtejadav) November 26, 2018