The UAE is reviewing a request for clemency from the family of a British researcher sentenced to life in prison on espionage charges this week, the country's ambassador to London said on Friday.
Matthew Hedges's family "have made a request for clemency and the government is studying that request," Ambassador Sulaiman Hamid al-Mazroui said in a televised statement shown on BBC and Sky News in which he also defended the UAE's judiciary.
"The government does not dictate verdicts to the courts," Mazroui said, adding that genuine researchers were able to visit his country "freely".
"Matthew Hedges was not convicted after a five-minute trial as some have reported. This was an extremely serious case. We live in a dangerous neighbourhood and national security must be our top priority," he said.
A UAE court on Wednesday sentenced 31-year-old Hedges, who was studying for a doctorate on the UAE's foreign and security policies at Durham University in northern England.
He had been arrested at Dubai airport on May 5.
The UAE foreign ministry said on Thursday it hoped for "amicable solution to the Matthew Hedges case".For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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