Wife of Brit PhD student, 31, detained in UAE jail for five months over spy claims begs for his release

Matthew Hedges has reportedly been in solitary confinement for five months.

The 31-year-old was said to have been seized as he tried to leave the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a research trip in May.

His wife Daniela Tejada has spoken about his failing health and has maintained that he is “absolutely not a spy”.

The 27-year-old told the Daily Mail: “The only reason he went to the UAE was for his academic research.

“The fair and just thing for the UAE to do would be to admit they’ve made a mistake and release him.”

Matthew was taken into custody at Dubai Airport then moved to the UAE’s capital Abu Dhabi.

He is reported to have been in solitary confinement for five months after he was accused of spying in Dubai.

It’s not clear exactly what he has been accused of, but his colleagues reportedly believe he was accused of spying on the UAE for nearby country Qatar.

However, his wife Daniela Tejada has said those allegations are completely untrue.

She says her husband was researching security policies in the region after the pro-democracy movement known as the Arab Spring.

Matthew has not been harmed physically, but he is suffering from depression and panic attacks, according to his wife who visited him in July.

Daniela told The Times: “It was evident he was on medication. He was constantly shaking.

"He clearly did not expect to see me.

"He seemed to be very cautious about what he said and what he didn’t say, which leads me to think he might have been coerced into saying or not saying certain things.”

The couple have been allowed to speak every week for five minutes, but they are forbidden to speak about the case.

Jeremy Hunt has raised the issue with his Emirati counterpart.

He said: “We are very worried about Mr Hedges. I’ve spoken to the Emirati foreign minister twice now on this matter face to face so they are aware of our concerns.”

Matthew’s case was adjourned to October 24.

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