BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:10 P.M.) – The President of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has pardoned the British academic Matthew Hedges after previously sentencing him to life in prison for espionage.
Hedges, a 31-year-old PhD student at Durham University, was initially arrested at the Dubai International Airport for allegedly ‘spying’ while studying inside the country.
However, Hedges was pardoned alongside 700 prisoners to mark the country’s National Day, the WAM News Agency of the UAE reported.
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 on state news agency WAM.
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt welcomed the move, which he called “fantastic news”.
“Although we didn’t agree with charges we are grateful to UAE government for resolving issue speedily,” Hunt said.