UAE authorities say that the case against Briton Matthew Hedges was based on electronic evidence, surveillance and an account he gave of his training and recruitment by a foreign intelligence service
British national Matthew Hedges has been pardoned with immediate effect by the UAE’s president just days after being found guilty of espionage and endangering the security of the UAE, it was announced on Monday.
On Wednesday November 21, Hedges was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.
In a statement, the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed that, following the verdict, Hedges’ family appealed for clemency in a letter that was passed to UAE authorities by consular staff.
With the pardon, Hedges is now free to leave the UAE once formalities are completed. The pardon was one of a number issued by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan ahead of the UAE’s 47th National Day anniversary.
Dr. Anwar Gargash, the UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said that the pardon “allows us to return our focus to the underlying fundamental strength of the UAE-UK bilateral relationship and its important to the international community,” he said.
Gargash added that “it was always a UAE hope that this matter would be resolved through the common channels of our longstanding partnership. This was a straightforward matter that became unnecessarily complex despite the UAE’s best efforts."
According to the UAE’s state-run WAM news agency, the case against Hedges was predicated on evidence found on his electronic devices, as well as surveillance and intelligence gathering by UAE authorities and evidence presented by Hedges himself, which included an account of his recruitment, training and activities.