Amnesty International: Matthew Hedges must be released
Amnesty International have said that British national, Matthew Hedges, currently detained in UAE, must be released if his 'spying' charge relates only to academic research.
The 31-year-old student from Exeter was arrested on 5 May at Dubai airport at the end of a study trip for his PhD at Durham University. Earlier this week he was charged with "spying for and on behalf of a foreign state" - allegations that his wife strongly denies.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Polly Truscott, Amnesty International UK’s Foreign Affairs expert, said:
“This is what we and his family feared, and it takes our concerns for Matthew to a whole new level.
“Matthew wouldn’t be the first person to be arrested in the UAE on baseless grounds, to be detained for a long period without access to a lawyer, and to be made to ’confess‘.
“If he’s been charged with espionage simply for having conducted academic research into the country’s security services, he should be released immediately. The authorities should also withdraw all the charges against him.
“Pending his release, the Emirati authorities should grant Matthew regular consular access and ensure all legal proceedings are translated into English in a timely fashion. In general, they should see to it that Matthew fully understands everything that is happening in this process.
“We’re also calling on the UK Government to step up its support for Matthew. He and his family need to know that the UK is doing its utmost to ensure that his basic rights to humane treatment and fair legal proceedings are being guaranteed.”