The United Arab Emirates has charged a British Ph.D. student with spying. Wife of the suspect called on Britain on Tuesday in his defense of innocence.
The Ph.D. student named Matthew Hedges was accused of “spying for a foreign country, risking the military, political and economic security of the state”, UAE attorney general Hamad al-Shamsi remarked on Monday.
The 31-year-old student was researching on the UAE’s foreign and internal security policies after the 2011 Arab Spring revolutions. He was detained at Dubai airport on May 5.
Hedges’ wife Daniela Tejada said on Tuesday that her husband had been held in a private location in the UAE with no access to the consulate and his family the authorities also stopped his lawyer from meeting him until last week.
She said that the authorities informed her husband last week that he was being charged with gathering information and sharing it with an agency in the United Kingdom.
Tejada requested the British government to clarify publicly that Matt is innocent of the charges and he is not involved in any act which can be termed as spying.
“This horrifying situation has been going on for far too long,” she said.
Britain’s foreign office said that it was in connection with the family of the detained student and they support him. They also said that they are in close contact with the local authorities to discuss on the matter.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told a foreign news agency that he was very worried about Hedges’ fate.
UAE authority has made charges against Hedges based on evidence from investigations carried out by the public prosecution.
UAE authority believes that Hedges had been acting as a researcher to cover his activities. They also claimed to find some data on his electronic devices which strengthens the accusations.
However, Tejada believes that her husband isn’t guilty of anything.