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Durham PhD student is being held in solitary confinement in Dubai following spying allegations

He’s been there for five months

Durham PhD student Matthew Hedges has been held in solitary confinement in the UAE for the past 5 months, following allegations that he was spying whilst on a Durham field trip.

According to The Times, Hedges, 31, was on a research trip in Dubai when he was arrested. He was researching towards his PhD as part of the Department of Government and International Affairs.

After he was arrested in May at Dubai airport, he was taken to Abu Dhabi and held in solitary confinement. He has only been allowed one visit by his wife, and just one phone call from his mother in this time.

Mr Hedges's research includes Middle Eastern politics, the changing nature of war, civil-military relations and tribalism. He has published articles concerning the future of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East.

Two UK foreign office representatives have visited Hedges and "are supporting a British man following his detention in the UAE." In addition, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been in communication with his UAE equivalent. Yesterday, Hedges was taken to court, however no charges have been outlined and his case has been postponed until the 24th of October.

It is unclear what Hedges has been arrested for, but it is believed that the UAE are accusing him of spying on behalf of Qatar. Hedges's wife Daniela Tejada dismisses this accusation and told The Times: "we all know its not true". Upon visiting her husband, she found him in good physical health, but suffering from panic attacks and depression.

Tejada said: "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".