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Man referred to Court of Appeal for espionage

Accused conducted unlawful act in UAE under guise of an ‘academic researcher’

Abu Dhabi: A British national has been referred to the Abu Dhabi Court of Appeal for trial over charges of espionage in the UAE.

He was found guilty of seeking and communicating classified information for the benefit of a foreign country in the UAE.

The charges were made after the Public Prosecution conducted thorough investigations based on legal evidences.

The prosecution also exercised the full guarantees to the rights of the accused during the investigations as per the UAE Constitution and the UAE laws.

The accused’s case, who is identified as Mathew Hedges, was also being followed by the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

Dr Hamad Al Shamsi, attorney general of the UAE, said in a statement on Monday, “The subject, Mathew Hedges, a British citizen, has been referred to Abu Dhabi’s Court of Appeal for the charge of spying for and on behalf of a foreign state, an act that jeopardises the military, economic and political security of the UAE.”

Explaining the case, the attorney general said, “The accused arrived in the UAE and conducted the unlawful act under cover of an ‘academic researcher’.”

However, investigations have proved that his confessions were identical to evidences and information gained from his own electronic devices’ examinations and investigations conducted by the UAE’s Security Agencies, Al Shamsi said.

“The accused has appeared in front of the court in presence of members of his respected embassy and consulate [officials], a lawyer and an approved legal translator.”

The attorney general said that the UAE legal system has provided the subject a lawyer on the state’s expense to defend his rights as the subject was unable to appoint a lawyer due to financial reasons. The UAE constitution guarantees a just and transparent trial, he added.

Al Shamsi also stated that the accused is being well treated and is receiving proper medical, physical and mental care, which is guaranteed for all accused in the UAE.

Hedges’ family members and British Embassy staff were permitted to visit and communicate with him several times according to the laws and regulations applicable in the UAE.

Next hearing in the case is scheduled for October 24.

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