Matthew Hedges, British Student Accused of Spying, Is Pardoned by U.A.E.

United Arab Emirates officials said Monday that British academic Matthew Hedges had received a presidential pardon after being sentenced to life in prison on spying charges.

Hedges, 31, was convicted on Nov. 21. UAE officials said he confessed to being a “captain” in Britain’s MI6 foreign intelligence agency. Hedges, a Durham University doctoral student, said he was in the country to do research for his PhD.

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

The pardon was to take effect immediately and lead to Hedges’ prompt release.

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