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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 October 2018

British student accused of spying appears in UAE's security court

Durham University student Matthew Hedges was arrested at Dubai International Airport in July

The Federal Supreme Court building in Abu Dhabi, where the defendant stood trial. Photographed in 2010. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National
The Federal Supreme Court building in Abu Dhabi, where the defendant stood trial. Photographed in 2010. Rich-Joseph Facun / The National

A British man held on suspicion of spying in the UAE has appeared in a state security court.

Matthew Hedges, 31, a PhD student at Durham University, had no lawyer present and the case was adjourned until later this month so that legal counsel could be provided.

It is understood Mr Hedges was on a trip to the UAE to conduct research for his studies.

No formal charges were read out and the next hearing is on October 24.

Last month, UAE Attorney General Dr Hamad Al Shamsi ordered an urgent criminal trial following reports from an Emirati about the suspicious behaviour of a foreign national.

The alleged spy was reported to prosecutors after the Emirati told them the man had been asking for sensitive information.

A subsequent investigation by Public Prosecution revealed that the man had been attempting to procure confidential information about the UAE to potentially pass on to a foreign agency.

The man was arrested at Dubai International Airport five months ago.

Mr Hedges has had two visits from British Foreign Office officials who have taken up his case and offered support to the family, The Times reported.

The London newspaper reported that Mr Hedges was visited by his wife, Daniela Tejada in July.

No further details have been made available by the court.

The British Foreign Office has not commented on the case.

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Urgent trial ordered in Abu Dhabi for 'foreigner' on charges of espionage