ICFUAE condemn Matthew Hedges’ life sentence in the strongest possible terms.
This development marks the culmination of years of repression in the UAE, which has seen scores of students, academics and journalists jailed for merely exercising their right to freedom of expression.
Since the Arab Spring of 2011, this crackdown has been rapidly stepped up by the UAE authorities. It is now commonplace for both Emiratis and non-Emiratis to be arbitrarily detained, forcefully disappeared, and in many cases tortured on the most frivolous of charges.
The UK government must now act. All relations with the country should be conditional upon the Emirati regime’s adherence to international human rights legislation - central to this is the immediate and unconditional release of Matthew Hedges.
The UAE’s crackdown on freedom of speech is now clearly at odds with academic freedoms. In light of this, there can be no longer be any justification for UK universities to continue partnerships with Emirati institutions. Until Hedges is released, it is imperative that an academic boycott be implemented.”