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UAE court to review evidence in British academic spying case

UAE court to review evidence in British academic spying case

The court agreed to the review after the defence argued evidence retrieved from Hedges’ devices contained only publicly available information

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A United Arab Emirates court has postponed hearing the case of a British academic charged with espionage until November 21 to re-examine the evidence, his wife said on Thursday.

Matthew Hedges, a 31-year-old doctoral student at Durham University, appeared on Wednesday in the Federal Court of Appeal in the capital Abu Dhabi.

He was arrested on May 5 at Dubai airport after a two-week research visit and formally charged last week with spying on the Gulf state, where he is being held in solitary confinement.

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

The court agreed to the review after the defence lawyer, assigned to the case on October 10, argued that the evidence retrieved from Hedges’ devices contained only publicly available information, his wife, Daniela Tejada, said in a statement.

The session was closed to the public because it concerned national security and court officials could not be reached immediately for comment.

The British Foreign Office did not immediately reply to a request for comment, but British authorities have said they raised Hedges’ case with the UAE several times.

The UAE’s attorney general has said Hedges was charged with spying for a foreign state, without naming it, and jeopardising the military, economic and political security of the country.

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

More than 120 academics from around the world issued a petition last week urging the UAE authorities to release him.

According to Durham University’s website, Hedges is a doctoral student in the School of Government and International Affairs whose research interests include civil-military relations, political economy and tribalism.

Last year, he co-authored an article in an academic journal on the Muslim Brotherhood and the Gulf Cooperation Council, of which the UAE is a member.

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