British academic, 31, accused of ‘spying’ in UAE is released on bail

British academic, 31, placed in solitary confinement for five months in the UAE after being accused of spying is released on bail

  • Matthew Hedges, 31, jailed and placed in solitary confinement for five months
  • Mr Hedges was arrested as he boarded a flight home from Dubai in May this year
  • Authorities in the United Arab Emirates have accused Mr Hedges of being a spy
  • Mr Hedges was conducting interviews as part of his PhD at Durham University
  • He has been told to stay in the UAE and ordered to wear an electronic bracelet
  • His next court appearance is on November 21 when he hopes to clear his name

A British academic held prisoner in the United Arab Emirates accused of ‘spying’ has been released on bail after five months in solitary confinement.

Matthew Hedges, 31, was seen for the first time in five months as he appeared in court on Wednesday, and said he had expressed suicidal thoughts because jail conditions have caused him severe anxiety and panic attacks.

On Monday, however, he was released on bail and told to remain in the UAE until his next court appearance on 21 November.

Mr Hedges was said to be suffering anxiety because of his conditions which had brought on panic attacks

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He has not had his passport returned to him and is being made to wear an ankle bracelet. 

UAE authorities reportedly warned Hedges that , if instructed, he may have to return to jail.

Mr Hedges, a PhD student at Durham University, went to the UAE to interview sources about the country’s foreign policy and security strategy.

The 31-year-old was detained at Dubai Airport on May 5 and his family said he has been held in solitary confinement since then.

Mr Hedges appeared at the Federal Court of Appeal in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday. He denies spying for the UK Government.

Mr Hedges’ wife, Daniela Tejada, of Exeter, said he is tired and ‘shocked by everything’, but in a good mood and ‘glad to be breathing fresh air’ after his release.

Speaking to the BBC, Ms Tejada called the move a ‘great step’ but she is ‘still hoping for justice’.

Matthew Hedges, pictured with his wife Daniela Tejada, has only been able to see her once since he was detained in May

Both Durham and Exeter Universities have called on UAE authorities to return Mr Hedges 

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