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  1. ITV Report

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt 'seriously concerned' about British student Matthew Hedges being detained in UAE

Matthew Hedges with his wife Daniela Tejada. Credit: Family handout

The Foreign Office has "serious concerns" about the treatment of a British student who has reportedly been held in solitary confinement in the UAE after being detained "without explanation".

Matthew Hedges, a PhD student at Durham University, was reportedly taken into custody at Dubai airport on May 5 after travelling to the UAE to interview sources about the country's foreign policy and security strategy.

The 31-year-old has been held without charge ever since and his rights are being "violated on a daily basis", his wife Daniela Tejada said.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the UK Government is "very worried" by the case and he has personally spoken with the UAE foreign minister twice about it.

Mr Hunt said: "We are very concerned to make sure there is proper due process, the court system is fair and that Matthew Hedges is treated properly and humanely and that we get a just outcome.

"We do have a number of concerns and we are raising them with the Emiratis."

British officials have visited Mr Hedges twice, although he is said to have been prevented from discussing his case with them.

Mr Hedges's case was heard by a court in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, but was adjourned until another hearing on October 24.

Ms Tejada said all she wants "is for Matt to come home safely".

She said in a statement: "We cannot believe this has happened. We have been patient and done everything that has been advised, supposedly in Matt's best interest, but we can no longer go on like this.

"Matt is a brilliant researcher, a man of integrity, and he has been punished in the most unjust and unfair way. His rights are violated on a daily basis and I am shocked that more has not been done to get him out.

Daniela says her husband is having his rights 'violated on a daily basis'. Credit: Family handout

"Matt is a British citizen; he visited the UAE exclusively for academic research purposes and has been detained without charge for over five months in an undisclosed location. This is appalling and more must be done to ensure he is safely brought home."

According to a profile on the Durham University website, Mr Hedges's research includes Middle Eastern politics, the changing nature of war, civil-military relations and tribalism.

The vice-chancellor of Durham University said the university is "seriously concerned" about his welfare.

Professor Stuart Corbridge said: "We are aware that one of our PhD students, Matt Hedges, has been detained in Abu Dhabi.

"We are seriously concerned about Matt's welfare and wellbeing and we remain in close contact with his family.

"We continue to offer our full assistance to efforts to bring Matt home safely and swiftly."

Mr Hedges's case has been adjourned until October 24. Credit: Family handout

Ms Tejada said the UK should review its educational ties with the UAE in light of Mr Hedges's detention, warning academic researchers like him "face great risks in the UAE".

She said: "All I want is for Matt to come home safely. The longer this goes on, the longer the recovery from this traumatic experience will take.

"I am extremely worried about Matt's mental health and general wellbeing. I am shocked and confused by the whole situation and will do everything I can to make sure he comes home soon."