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16th of October 2018

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British student held in solitary confinement in UAE after being accused of spying, report says

A British man has reportedly been held in the United Arab Emirates since May after he was accused of spying.

Matthew Hedges, 31, a doctoral student at Durham University, was arrested at Dubai’s airport on May 5, The UK Times reported. He has reportedly been held in solitary confinement since May and has been allowed only one phone call to his mom, a visit from his wife Daniela Tejada and two visits from British Foreign Office officials.

Hedges traveled to the UAE for a research trip to “interview sources about the country’s security policies,” The Times reported.

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On Wednesday, a court in Abu Dhabi heard Hedges’ case but it was adjourned until Oct. 24. The student’s colleagues told The Times it was possible Hedges was suspected of spying for Qatar.

“We all know that is not true,” Tejeda told the Times.

Tejada said in a statement that her husband was in the country “exclusively for academic research purposes,” the BBC reported.

"His rights are violated on a daily basis and I am shocked that more has not been done to get him out,” she said in a statement, according to the BBC.

Durham University vice-chancellor professor Stuart Corbridge said the school “was seriously concerned about Matt’s welfare and well-being.” The university has temporarily banned students from traveling to the UAE for research trips for “all non-UAE nationals” until it was revealed why Hedges was arrested, the BBC reported.

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The British Foreign Office said in a statement that the staff was “supporting a British man following his detention in the UAE.” The statement did not name Hedges.

“We are assisting his family and remain in close contact with the local authorities. The foreign secretary has also personally raised his case with his Emirati counterpart,” the statement read

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