PressTV-UAE frees British spy in face of diplomatic threats

The United Arab Emirate has granted a pardon to a British academic whose life sentence a week ago had triggered a harsh response from London.

The pardon issued by the UAE president, on Monday came despite the release of a video in which Matthew Hedge purportedly accepted his spying conviction by saying that he was a member of the British intelligence agency MI5.

Hedges, 31, a doctoral student who was arrested in May after UAE authorities found about his espionage activities, said in the video that he was specifically looking into UAE military issues while in the emirates.

However, a court ruling last week, which sentenced him to life in prison, sparked harsh reactions from London. Both Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt had warned that ties could be at risk over the ruling.

A statement on state news agency WAM said the pardoning of Hedges was part of a mass clemency of more than 700 prisoners to mark the…

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