November 26, 2018 / 10:03 PM / in 16 days

British academic on way home from UAE after pardon for spying conviction

DUBAI, Nov 27 (Reuters) - A British academic was on his way home from the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday after a pardon saved him from a life sentence for spying, according to a Reuters photographer.

The UAE said it had pardoned Matthew Hedges after showing a video of him purportedly confessing to being a member of Britain’s MI6 intelligence agency. Britain has denied he was a spy and welcomed his pardon.

Hedges boarded a flight to London in Dubai, according to a Reuters photographer at the airport.

Hedges, a 31-year-old doctoral student at Durham University, had been held since May 5, when he was arrested at Dubai International Airport after a two-week research visit.

His family have cast him as a dedicated researcher who fell foul of the UAE’s security and justice system. The UAE cast him as a British spy who was given a fair trial for grave espionage offences. (Writing by Guy Faulconbridge, Editing by Alistair Smout)

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