06:49 GMT +316 December 2018
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    UK Refused to Negotiate Student's Release to Avoid Admission of Spying - Reports

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The United Kingdom refused to start negotiations on bringing home Matthew Hedges, a UK student accused of spying by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), because of a demand that London first admit his guilt, The Times newspaper reported on Friday citing sources.

    The UK government refused to handle the student's case through intelligence channels, in line with the wish of the UAE, fearing that it would be considered as an admission of his guilt, according to The Times newspaper.

    The news comes following a meeting last week between UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed.

    At the talks, Hunt is said to have denied that Hedges was a spy. After the meeting, the crown prince decided to leave the case to "due judicial process," a source told The Times. Commenting on the meeting with bin Zayed, Hunt tweeted that he believed the prince was "working hard to resolve the situation asap."

    UAE's Position

    On the same day, speaking about the issue, UAE Ambassador to London Sulaiman Hamid Almazroui said that the United Arab Emirates was looking into whether to grant clemency to a convicted PhD student.

    "Mr Hedges' family has made a request for clemency and the government is studying this request," Almazroui told the Sky News broadcaster.

    Earlier this week, a court in Abu Dhabi declared Hedges guilty of spying on behalf of the UK government, in particular, for MI6 and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

    READ MORE: ‘Horrifying Situation:' UAE Charges UK Student With Spying

    Media reports emerged in October that Hedges, 31, was arrested at Dubai airport in May as he tried to leave the country after a study trip. The student reportedly came to the UAE to gather information for his research on the UAE security policy following the Arab Spring. On October 15, the UAE attorney general confirmed Hedges had been charged of espionage on behalf of a foreign state.

    Related:

    UK Reluctant to Use Diplomatic Channels to Retrieve Detained Student - UAE Min.
    ‘Horrifying Situation:’ UAE Charges UK Student With Spying
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    spying, student, UAE, United Kingdom
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