LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May has said she is “deeply disappointed and concerned” about the case of a British academic jailed for life in the United Arab Emirates. Matthew Hedges, 31, who is accused of spying on behalf of the British Government, was shaking as he was sentenced to life imprisonment in a five-minute hearing at an Abu Dhabi court on
Wednesday, his wife Daniela Tejada said.
She said the couple’s “nightmare has gotten even worse” as Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt urged the UAE to reconsider the sentence.
Mrs May told MPs: “The Foreign Office will remain in close contact with Matthew, his family and his lawyer. We will continue to do all we can to support them as they consider the next steps and we will continue to press this matter at the highest level with the Emiratis.”
Mr Hunt said consular officials had been in contact with Mr Hedges’ family and added he was “deeply shocked” at the verdict, having personally raised the case with the UAE government. 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.
“We will continue to do everything possible to support him. I have repeatedly made clear that the handling of this case by the UAE authorities will have repercussions for the relationship between our two countries, which has to be built on trust”.