UAE: life sentence for PhD student is 'terrible news'
British national Matthew Hedges convicted of ‘spying’ in relation to his academic study
‘This is clearly an unsound conviction’ - Devin Kenney
Commenting on news that Matthew Hedges, the British PhD student detained in the United Arab Emirates, has been sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of spying, Amnesty International’s UAE researcher, Devin Kenney, said:
“This is jarring and terrible news.
“We’ve always had the gravest concerns about this case - from the long period that Matthew Hedges was in detention without access to a lawyer, the supposed confession in detention, and now the ludicrously short trial hearing today.
“The proceedings against him have been grossly unfair and this is clearly an unsound conviction.
“Mathew Hedges must be afforded his right to fair trial proceedings; otherwise, the UAE has no right to hold him and he should be released without delay.
“Over the last seven years, the UAE has had an appalling record of holding ‘trials’ that do not deserve the name, such as the ‘UAE-94’ mass trial that was used to crush reformist local dissent.
“Human rights defenders, political critics, and even Emirati judges and lawyers have all been convicted in the kind of sham proceedings to which Mr Hedges has just been subjected.”