November 21, 2018 / 11:57 AM / a year ago

Britain says life sentence for academic in UAE will hurt relations

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s relationship with the UAE will be hurt by a life sentence handed down to a British academic, foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said on Wednesday, adding that the verdict was not what London expected from an ally.

“Today’s verdict is not what we expect from a friend and trusted partner of the United Kingdom and runs contrary to earlier assurances,” Hunt said in a statement after Matthew Hedges, a 31-year-old doctoral student at Durham University, was sentenced. He was charged with spying.

“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.”

Reporting by Alistair Smout; editing by Guy Faulconbridge

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