The United Arab Emirates on Monday pardoned British academic Matthew Hedges who was 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 Britain’s intelligence agency MI6.
The UAE president issued a pardon as part of the country’s National Day, effective immediately, according to a statement carried by state news agency WAM.
His wife welcomed his pardon and said she could not wait for him to get back home.
“The family and I welcome the news of the presidential pardon and cannot wait to have Matt back home,” Hedges’ wife, Daniela Tejada, told Reuters.
Britain said it was grateful to the United Arab Emirates.
“Fantastic news about Matthew Hedges,” British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said. “Although we didn’t agree with charges we are grateful to UAE government for resolving issue speedily.”
Hunt said it was also a “bittersweet moment” because he was thinking about innocent people still detained in Iran.
“Justice won’t be truly done until they too are safely home,” Hunt said.