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Detained in Dubai statement on pardon of Matthew Hedges, Brit academic jailed for "spying"

Updated: Jul 26, 2022

Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, who have been actively pushing for the release of British academic Matthew Hedges, commented today on the pardon just issued by the UAE government: “We are happy that Matthew Hedges has been released, but let us be clear, the UAE is trying to get themselves off the hook by issuing this pardon; they are asking for clemency, not granting it.

“Matthew should never have been arrested; never should have been forced to sign a false confession in Arabic; never should have been locked up in solitary confinement for six months; never should have been tried for the outlandish charge of espionage; and most certainly never should have been sentenced to life imprisonment. The pardon does not undo any of that, and indeed, Matthew’s innocence has not been admitted by the UAE; the wrongs done to him have not been acknowledged. Obviously we welcome Matthew’s release, but this is far from an optimal resolution.