Matthew Hedges, who was sentenced to life imprisonment last week, has been pardoned today and has been making his way to the British Embassy in the UAE.
The PhD student has spent more than half a year in the country, having been accused of spying for the British government. A charge which he has denied since being arrested in May.
His wife, Ms. Daniela Tejada, told the BBC that she was “elated” by the news.
Despite his pardon being announced, a UAE government spokesperson stated that Mr. Hedges was “100% a secret service operative”.
The evidence against him has never been ratified by the UK government and after meeting with the ambassador to the UAE following the sentencing, Jeremy Hunt made it clear he believed the accused was innocent.
The foreign minister tweeted in response to today’s news:
“Fantastic news about Matthew Hedges.Although we didn’t agree with charges we are grateful to UAE govt for resolving issue speedily.But also a bittersweet moment as we remember Nazanin &other innocent ppl detained in Iran.Justice won’t be truly done until they too are safely home.”
In cases where Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) officers are at risk, the UK government sticks to a policy of Neither Confirm Nor Deny (NCND) in the cases of intelligence operatives.