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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 December 2018

Barrister who defended Qaddafi's spymaster will represent Matthew Hedges  

Rodney Dixon QC tells UK media he will attempt to sue on the Briton's behalf

Rodney Dixon pictured in Harare, Zimbabwe, in October 2018. AFP Photo
Rodney Dixon pictured in Harare, Zimbabwe, in October 2018. AFP Photo

The barrister who defended the spymaster of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi is representing Matthew Hedges, the Briton deported from the UAE after a pardon for a spying conviction.

Hedges, a PhD student at Durham University in the UK, was convicted by the Federal Court of Appeal on November 21 for trying to procure sensitive information during a trip to the UAE this year.

He was arrested on May 5 at Dubai International Airport after a two-week research visit, in which he is said to have asked questions about the UAE ruling families, their networks, classified information on the UAE military and the political role in Yemen.

Rodney Dixon, who has been involved in a series of legal actions against the UAE in recent years, told Britain’s Daily Telegraph this week that he would try to sue for false imprisonment on Hedges' behalf within the UAE and international courts.

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He said that the avenues to overturn the conviction were limited but would be explored.

“Legal actions in both the UAE, although very limited, and internationally, including before the UN, will be explored,” he told the newspaper.

Last year, Mr Dixon was reported to have acted on behalf of three unidentified Qatari men who said they were detained during a visit to the UAE.

Mr Dixon, who took silk as a barrister to become a Queen's Counsel in 2014, is often tied to international legal cases.

He represented Abdalluh Al Senussi, Qaddafi’s spy master, at the International Criminal Court against efforts by the government of Libya to shift the trial of Al Senussi and Saif Al Islam, Qaddafi’s son, back to their homeland.

Al Senussi was known as one of Qaddafi's most violent officials.

Mr Dixon also represented the government of Kenya in its actions against the ICC’s attempts to prosecute President Uhuru Kenyatta for crimes perpetrated in the run up to the 2007 election.

The sandy-haired advocate is also a member of an official commission to investigate deaths allegedly perpetrated by the Zimbabwean army after that country's recent presidential election.

Mr Dixon has frequently appeared alongside critics of the UAE on panels organised in different European cities. These events frequently feature on Qatari media but attract little attention elsewhere.

Hedges, in footage shown at a press conference in Abu Dhabi this month, said he was an "active officer" for the British secret service agency MI6.