Briton on way home from UAE after pardon for spying conviction

A British academic was on his way home from the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday after a pardon saved him from a life sentence for spying.

The UAE said it had pardoned Matthew Hedges after showing a video of him confessing to being a member of Britain’s MI6 intelligence agency.

Hedges boarded a flight to London in Dubai, according to a Reuters photographer at the airport.

Hedges, a 31-year-old doctoral student at Durham University, had been held since May 5, when he was arrested at Dubai International Airport after a two-week visit.

The UAE president issued the pardon as part of a mass clemency of more than 700 prisoners to mark the country’s National Day.

Minutes before the pardon was announced on Monday, a UAE government spokesman showed journalists a video of Hedges confessing to belonging to Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) and researching which military systems the UAE was buying.

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