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

The United Arab Emirates on Monday pardoned a British academic jailed for life on spying charges, granting his family's request for clemency minutes after showing a video of him purportedly confessing to being a member of UK intelligence agency MI6.
The UAE said it had pardoned Mr Matthew Hedges after showing a video of him purportedly confessing to being a member of Britain's MI6 intelligence agency.
The UAE said it had pardoned Mr Matthew Hedges after showing a video of him purportedly confessing to being a member of Britain's MI6 intelligence agency.PHOTO: AFP

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

The UAE said it had pardoned Mr 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.

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

Mr 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.