'Fantastic news': Britain welcomes UAE pardon for jailed academic

Reuters , Monday 26 Nov 2018

Matthew Hedges
In this file photo taken on November 23, 2018 A handout picture taken in 2016 and released by the family of Matthew Hedges in London on November 23, 2018, shows British student Matthew Hedges posing at his home in Exeter (Photo: AFP)

Britain said it was grateful to the United Arab Emirates on Monday after it pardoned a British academic jailed on spying charges.

The UAE said it had pardoned Matthew Hedges just minutes after showing a video of him purportedly confessing to being a member of Britain's intelligence agency MI6. Britain has denied he was a spy.

"Fantastic news about Matthew Hedges," British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said. "Although we didn’t agree with charges we are grateful to UAE government for resolving issue speedily."

Hunt said it was also a "bittersweet moment" because he was thinking about innocent people still detained in Iran.

"Justice won’t be truly done until they too are safely home," Hunt said. 

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