I am deeply shocked and disappointed by the verdict today. I have personally raised the case of Matthew Hedges at the highest levels of the UAE government, including during my visit to Abu Dhabi on 12 November. On that occasion, I spoke to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed.
However, today’s verdict is not what we expect from a friend and trusted partner of the United Kingdom and runs contrary to earlier assurances. Our consular officials have been in close contact with Matthew Hedges and his family. We will continue to do everything possible to support him.
I have repeatedly made clear that the handling of this case by the UAE authorities will have repercussions for the relationship between our two countries, which has to be built on trust. I regret the fact that we have reached this position and I urge the UAE to reconsider.