Durham PhD student Matthew Hedges has been sentenced to life in prison in the UAE for spying.
Hedges was found guilty of spying on behalf of the British government by a federal court in Abu Dhabi, after being charged last month. He appeared in court this morning, accompanied by his wife, Daniela Tejada, and officials from the British Embassy.
The National newspaper in the UAE has reported that his life sentence includes a maximum of 25 years in jail and is followed by deportations for non-Emiratis.
The court ruling also declared Hedges has the right to challenge the ruling with the State Security Department of the Federal Supreme Court within a maximum period of 30 days.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who has previously appealed for the release of Hedges, said in a statement he is 'deeply shocked' by the verdict which is 'not what we expect from a friend and trusted partner of the United Kingdom'.
- Matthew's wife Daniela said she was 'very scared' for her husband. She released the following statement:
- A statement from the federal court in Abu Dhabi:
- Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a statement:
Roberta Blackman-Woods, the Labour MP for City of Durham, said:
Mr Hedges' case was also brought up at today's Prime Minister's Question Time.
Prime Minister Theresa May has said she is "deeply disappointed and concerned" about the case and said the couple's "nightmare has gotten even worse" as Foreign Secretary.
Mrs May told MPs:
Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, Professor Stuart Corbridge said:
- More to follow...