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British national charged with spying in the UAE is being ‘treated well’

British national charged with spying in the UAE is being ‘treated well’

Hedges, a 31-year-old PhD student at Durham University, has been detained in the UAE since May 5

The UAE has clarified that British national Matthew Hedges, who is currently on trial in the UAE on charges on spying, is being treated fairly.

Hedges, a 31-year-old doctoral student at Durham University, was arrested at Dubai International Airport on May 5 after a two-week research visit.

His trial at the Federal Appeals Court in Abu Dhabi is taking place on Wednesday.

Hedges’ wife Daniela Tejada has alleged that he had been detained without explanation and held in solitary confinement ever since.

Read: UAE prosecutor says British national facing spy charges posed as researcher

She said he had he had not been informed of the charges. His university professors also claim he was visiting the UAE to conduct academic research related to his studies.

Mohammad Obaid Al Za’abi, director of the Foreign Nationals Affairs Department of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, carried out a “review of his welfare status” following widespread media reporting and speculation, official news agency WAM reported.

Read: UAE says it has been in touch with UK for months over academic detained for ‘spying’

The review found that since his arrest, Hedges has been provided with “constant medical and psychological care”.

After his initial arrest and prior to trial proceeding, Hedges’ family members and embassy staff were given access to him on “several occasions” in accordance with UAE laws and regulations, the report stated.

Once the investigation was completed and since the commencement of the trial, the conditions of Hedges remand have been reduced and he can contact family, embassy and consular staff, and his legal counsel by phone, it added.

“Hedges has been provided with books and reading material of his choice, and his lawyer and his immediate family have the ongoing ability to access him in keeping with the protocols of the trial process. Since the commencement of the trial, Hedges has been accommodated in a lower security remand centre,” the report said.

“It is important to note that the right to a fair trial is guaranteed by Article 94 of the UAE Constitution. The UAE constitution also provides that an accused person shall be presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a legal and fair trial,” it added.

The treatment of Hedges is “entirely in keeping with obligations under UAE law and international norms and his welfare has been appropriately supported and maintained throughout the process”, officials said.

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