November 26, 2018 / 8:57 AM / 23 days ago

'Fantastic news'- Britain welcomes UAE pardon for jailed academic

Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt arrives in Downing Street, London, Britain, November 13, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said it was grateful to the United Arab Emirates on Monday after it pardoned a British academic jailed on spying charges.

The UAE said it had pardoned Matthew Hedges just minutes after showing a video of him purportedly confessing to being a member of Britain’s intelligence agency MI6. Britain has denied he was a spy.

“Fantastic news about Matthew Hedges,” British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said. “Although we didn’t agree with charges we are grateful to UAE government for resolving issue speedily.”

Hunt said it was also a “bittersweet moment” because he was thinking about innocent people still detained in Iran.

“Justice won’t be truly done until they too are safely home,” Hunt said.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden

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