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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Dr Anwar Gargash: 'legal process must take its course' for Briton accused of spying

The UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs says he is in contact with UK authorities over the arrest of PhD student Matthew Hedges

The UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash said the legal process must be allowed to take its course in the case of a British man facing a spy charge.
The UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash said the legal process must be allowed to take its course in the case of a British man facing a spy charge.

The UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Dr Anwar Gargash, said the "legal process needs to take its course" in the case of a British man being held in the country on suspicion of spying.

Matthew Hedges, 31, a PhD student at Durham University, appeared in a state security court in Abu Dhabi this week after being accused of attempting to obtain confidential information about the UAE to pass on to a foreign agency.

He was arrested at Dubai International Airport five months ago.

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.

In a tweet on Friday, Dr Gargash said he has been in discussions with the UK authorities for the last five months.

Mr Hedges has been visited twice by British Foreign Office officials who have taken up his case and offered support to the family, The Times reported.

The London newspaper also 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 said it is offering support to the man's family.

"Our staff are supporting a British man following his detention in the UAE," said the statement.

"We are assisting his family and remain in close contact with authorities.

"The Foreign Secretary [Jeremy Hunt] has also personally raised his case with his Emirati counterpart."