British Scholar Imprisoned In United Arab Emirates Has Been Pardoned

British academic Matthew Hedges is one of 785 prisoners who received presidential pardons ahead of the country's National Day celebrations on Dec. 2.
Posted at 7:58 AM, Nov 26, 2018

A British scholar accused of being a spy and sentenced to life in prison in the United Arab Emirates has been pardoned. It goes into effect immediately. 

Here's what happened: Middle Eastern studies specialist Matthew Hedges was arrested at the Dubai airport in May after a research trip. On Thursday, Hedges was sentenced to life in prison for espionage after what CNN described as a five-minute hearing. 

A family spokeswoman told media outlets Hedges was forced to sign a confession in Arabic, though he doesn't read or speak the language. He denies the espionage claims.

Hedges is one of 785 prisoners who received presidential pardons ahead of the United Arab Emirates' National Day celebrations on Dec. 2. 

He will reportedly leave the country sometime on Monday.

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.