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Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, statement on the shock life sentencing of UK student Matth

Statement from Radha Stirling (CEO of Detained in Dubai): "The announcement that Matthew Hedges has been sentenced to life imprisonment in Abu Dhabi has sent shockwaves through the British and international community as well as the academic community who I have advised to suspend research trips to the Emirates. UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told the press he was 'deeply shocked and disappointed', adding that Wednesday's sentencing was 'not what London expected from an ally.'

'Today's verdict is not what we expect from a friend and trusted partner of the United Kingdom and runs contrary to earlier assurances,' Hunt said in a statement.

'The handling of this case by the UAE authorities will have repercussions for the relationship between our two countries, which has to be built on trust.

'I regret the fact that we have reached this position and I urge the UAE to reconsider.'

Jeremy’s comments will be echoed in Washington next week where I will be speaking on the UAE’s increasingly outrageous and lawless behaviour towards citizens of their allies. The UAE continues to ignore repeated requests from the United Nations to answer their demands regarding an illegal and militarised attack on a US flagged yacht and the kidnapping of a US citizen and a Finnish national in international waters.