A British student sentenced to jail by the United Arab Emirates for allegedly being a spy says he was drugged in jail, had to sign a false confession, and was bribed to betray his country.
Matthew Hedges, a 31-year-old doctoral student in the Middle East at Durham University, was pardoned by the United Arab Emirates in November after being arrested at Dubai Airport in May.
Both hedges and the Refuse British Government that Hedges worked as a spy or MI6. In an interview with the British newspaper The Times after his return to the UK, Hedges said he had only given the confession his interrogators demanded after being repeatedly threatened.
"After all this pressure, I said," Okay, well, whatever, yes, sure, "he said.
He said he was more afraid then, "I was so scared and nervous because I started the lie."
Hedges said the interview, which was repeatedly accused by UAE agents of working for MI6 and learning more about his doctoral thesis, left him "in panic attacks for two or three consecutive days."
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He said his interrogators offered him a bargain if he agreed to become a double agent and steal documents from the British Foreign Office.
"I got a panic attack and thought," How am I supposed to get this information? "
He said they threatened, "We will take you to an overseas military base where you will be held in a prison, beaten and tortured, and never see the light again."
Hedges also said he received a cocktail of Xanax, Valium and benzodiazepine after his wife Daniela Tejada told the UAE authorities that he had been diagnosed with depression and anxiety.
But the doctors say that, according to the Times, this is an alarming situation. He had to go cold during a hospital stay and appeared in his retired state to court. Hedges said a doctor told him "he was surprised that I could still speak."
He said that he had decided to sleep in the dark for up to 23 hours a day after suffering migraine through the fluorescent lights, slept on the floor for weeks, vomiting three times a day to relieve stress ,
Hedges said he was approached by ten Emirates at Dubai airport in May after drinking coffee with his mother. He says the officers have removed a blindfold and handcuffs.
He said he was detained in an interrogation room at a state security bureau in Al Muroor Police Station, where interrogation sessions could take up to 15 hours and he was sometimes put in ankle cuffs.
"I was never tortured physically, but it was psychological and it felt like torture," said Hedges.
Continue reading:The United Arab Emirates pardoned a British student who had been sentenced to life imprisonment after showing an alleged confession video in which he said he was working for MI6
Emirats representatives showed clips at a press conference where Hedges allegedly professed to be a captain in MI6 and discussed his research on the British espionage agency. Journalists were not allowed to record or publish the videos.