EMIRATES-BRITAIN – UAE pardons British academic sentenced to life for spying

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The United Arab Emirates pardoned a British academic jailed for life on spying charges, granting his family’s request for clemency minutes after showing a video of him purportedly confessing to being a member of UK intelligence agency MI6.
The UAE president issued the pardon as part of a mass clemency of more than 700 prisoners to mark the country’s National Day, according to a statement carried by state news agency WAM.
The pardon was effective immediately and Matthew Hedges, a 31-year-old doctoral student at Durham University held for more than six months, will be allowed to leave the country “once formalities are completed,” the statement said.
Britain’s foreign minister welcomed the move, saying the UK government had not agreed with the charges against Hedges but was grateful to the UAE for resolving the issue speedily.

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