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Young Accused Spy Released After Getting Life Sentence

UAE releases British academic Matthew Hedges
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2018 7:47 AM CST
In this undated family photo, Matthew Hedges is pictured with his wife Daniela Tejada.   (Daniela Tejada via AP, FILE)
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(Newser) – The United Arab Emirates insisted he was spying—and still does. But 31-year-old British academic Matthew Hedges says he was merely researching his Ph.D. Regardless of which side is right, Hedges is going home after about seven months in custody. Hedges received a life sentence in the UAE last week, but the government has since announced a presidential pardon, reports the Guardian. It's "the best news we could've received," tweeted his wife, Daniela Tejada. "I've been brought back to life." After his arrest, Hedges maintained that he was researching the nation's security arrangements for his doctorate at Durham University. In announcing the pardon, however, a UAE government spokesman said Hedges is "100% a secret service operative," per the BBC. (Hedges' wife says he'd been suffering panic attacks in prison.)

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