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UAE prosecutor says British national facing spy charges posed as researcher

UAE prosecutor says British national facing spy charges posed as researcher

Matthew Hedges was arrested at Dubai International Airport on May 5

The UAE’s attorney general has said a British national arrested five months ago was posing as an academic researcher to spy on the country, according to reports.

Matthew 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.

He will stand trial later this month.

UAE attorney general Hamad Al Shamsi said on Monday that Hedges spied “on behalf of or for a foreign state”, without naming the country, The National reported.

Read: British student faces trial in the UAE on charges of spying

The man’s activities were first brought to the attention of authorities after an Emirati citizen told them he was asking for sensitive information.

Prosecutors later said he had been attempting to secure confidential information with the possible intention of passing it to a foreign agency.

Al Shamsi said Hedges had admitted to the charges against him, which were supported by “identical to evidence and information gained from his own electronic devices and investigations conducted by the UAE’s security agencies”.

UAE minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said on Friday that the case had brought “unusual and embarrassing revelations about friends and allies”.

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

He added that the case had been “extensively discussed with UK colleagues over the last five months”.

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