Student jailed for spying ‘failed’ by UK

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Media caption Daniela Tejada stated her other half Matthew Hedges was “frightened” in court.

The spouse of a British trainee imprisoned for spying in the United Arab Emirates states the British federal government put UK interests above his right to flexibility.

Daniela Tejada spoke with the BBC quickly after going back to the UK from Abu Dhabi where she saw Durham University’s Matthew Hedges sentenced to life.

The 31-year-old rejects spying however district attorneys stated he had actually admitted .

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt satisfied the UAE ambassador in London previously for “an extremely frank discussion”.

Theresa May stated she was “deeply worried” by the circumstance including that it was “being raised at the greatest level” in the UAE.

Hedges, who is initially from Exeter, stated he had actually remained in the nation carrying out research study on the UAE’s security technique for his PhD thesis when he was jailed at Dubai airport on 5 May.

Ms Tejada, who is because of fulfill Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt later on, informed BBC Radio 4’s Today program the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office had actually been “stepping on eggshells rather of taking a company position” and just started to take her hubby’s case seriously when he had actually been launched on bail on 29 October after sustaining months of holding cell.

“I was under the impression they were putting their interests with the UAE above a British resident’s rightful liberty and well-being,” Ms Tejada stated.

‘Unacceptable conditions’

She stated she had actually called the Foreign Office “on a weekly basis” considering that her spouse’s arrest in May.

“They simply overlooked my demands, they stated it wasn’t part of their task, it wasn’t part of their responsibility,” she continued.

“On one event among the case employees stated the Foreign Office did not have a responsibility of care so weren’t required to make such representations.”

Image copyright Daniela Tejada/PA Wire
Image caption Ms Tejada stated she felt the Foreign Office had actually overlooked her early demands to assist when her partner was being kept in holding cell

She stated: “I think they ought to have taken a firmer position from the start, if not publically then through their personal representations.

“This is something they stopped working to do throughout.

“He was being apprehended in undesirable conditions for something that he didn’t do.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock stated his “heart heads out” to Hedges and his household however Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt had actually “raised this case personally with the crown prince on 12 November”.

He informed Today: “The Foreign Office has actually been acting upon (Hedges’) behalf at the greatest possible levels.”

Following a concern in your house Lords, Baroness Goldie (Conservative) exposed consulate personnel had actually met Hedges on 6 events, “3 prior to his current bail and 3 whilst on bail”.

She stated Mr Hunt was likewise “urgently looking for a call” with the UAE’s Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed.

Ms Tejada stated she had actually been not able to speak with her partner because he was sentenced however she might “picture he is simply as troubled as I am”.

“He was really, really terrified standing in front of the judge,” she stated, due to the fact that he understood the possibility of getting an approximate judgement.

“I asked him to take a look at me if he was feeling too worried and he attempted to do so on a number of events however was asked to deal with the judge.”

She stated Hedges was shaking when the translator informed him the sentence and “asked to check if he had actually heard it ideal”.

Image copyright EPA/DANIELA TEJADA

Ms Tejada stated there had actually been no due procedure, including: “He was executed a lot stress for 6 months that definitely nothing he did or stated might be utilized versus him.

“Anything utilized versus Matt is totally unproven.”

She later on informed Reuters: “Handing a life sentence to an innocent scientist who held the UAE in high regard speaks volumes about their absence of tolerance and regard for human life.”

UAE Attorney General Dr Hamad Saif Al Shamsi stated Hedges had actually “admitted in information to his criminal offenses” and was “accorded complete rights” with a “transparent and reasonable trial”.

But his household state a file he signed which later on took place to be a confession remained in Arabic, which he can not check out or speak, and followed he was questioned without a legal representative or consular assistance.

The chief law officer stated the sentence, which would see Hedges serve an optimum of 25 years in prison prior to being deported, was tentative as Hedges can appeal.

Analysis: Sending a spy ‘makes no sense’

By BBC security reporter Frank Gardner:

Britain has a rather enduring and really deep defence relationship with the UAE – it is an ally.

There are approximately 200 serving British workers completely based in the UAE. There is an airbase called Al Minhad simply south of Dubai where RAF tropical storms and twisters are turning in and out, consisting of for flights to Afghanistan. There is a port called Port Zayed which is the most gone to Royal Navy port on the planet. And numerous Emirati officers are trained at Sandhurst military college.

Britain has actually got a really close defence, security and counter-terrorism relationship with the UAE and though there is no idea of that being threatened, if the circumstance intensifies, the calls to reassess that relationship will increase.

The recommendation Britain would send out a spy makes no sense. I’m sure MI6 would utilize academics to spy on a location if they could, however just in difficult to target nations. I can not envision what a scholastic might leave the UAE that the UK could not manage asking the UAE straight.

There is absolutely nothing I can see that Matthew Hedges has actually done which in anyhow would make up spying. There are far higher level of sensitivities there than in this nation – someone has actually reported him to the authorities stating he is asking suspicious concerns.

I’ve understood somebody, who was a business person in Dubai – a previous British army officer – who was jailed since he distressed the incorrect individual and didn’t have the connections that would get him out of prison.

Professor Clive Jones, Hedges’ manager at Durham University, stated there would now need to be “some sort of moratorium” on sending out trainees to do field operate in the UAE and the larger Gulf area.

He stated Hedges had actually been taking a look at civil-military relations in the UAE given that the Arab Spring and “there was absolutely nothing hidden or private” about the product he had.

He stated there was no “idea” of threat and Hedges was “no complete stranger” to the UAE having “lived there on and off” because he was 9 years of ages.

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Media caption Shana Marshall, a pal of Matthew Hedges, states she is “surprised” at the UAE’s decision

Prof Jones stated: “He understood much of individuals he was heading out to interview, so once again it is entirely strange, and certainly perverse, and undoubtedly a miscarriage of justice, that this has actually befallen him.”

Conservative MP Johnny Mercer tweeted it would be “definitely disgraceful” if Ms Tejada’s claims were discovered to be real, including: “We have no interests with the UAE that exceed the rights and flexibilities of our residents abroad.”

He earlier stated the case was “inappropriate” and “Consequences need to be instant till he is launched. Strength needed.”

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