Hedges, 31, who had been sentenced to life in jail for spying, was granted a presidential pardon on Monday following an intense lobbying effort by the British authorities. His case drew worldwide condemnation amid heightened media protection.
A specialist in Center Jap research on the College of Durham, he was arrested on Could 5 at Dubai airport, following a analysis journey. He spent virtually six months in solitary confinement.
In a press release Tuesday, he thanked his spouse, Daniela Tejada, his household, and the British authorities for his or her efforts in guaranteeing his launch.
“I’ve not seen or learn a lot of what has been written over the previous few days, however Dani tells me the help has been unimaginable. Thanks a lot to the British Embassy and the FCO for his or her efforts in guaranteeing I arrived safely again house,” mentioned Hedges.
“I couldn’t have carried out this with out Daniela, I hear her face is in all places! She is so courageous and powerful, seeing her and my household after this ordeal is the perfect factor that might have occurred. I thanks all as soon as once more, that is very surreal.”
Daniela Tejada mentioned that she was “overjoyed” to have her husband again within the UK.
“I’m so comfortable to have my Matt house! Thanks as soon as once more for the overwhelming help we’ve acquired, particularly from the embassy within the UAE and the International Workplace in guaranteeing that Matt was safely returned house. We’re overjoyed and exhausted!
Regardless of receiving a presidential pardon, the UAE has continued to allege that Hedges was a spy recruited by British intelligence. At a press convention, Monday, UAE authorities confirmed journalists a video which purportedly confirmed Hedges’ confession.
The UK authorities have repeatedly denied the claims.
UK ‘deeply perplexed’ how this occurred
Hedges’ imprisonment had taken a toll on London’s relationship with Abu Dhabi. British International Secretary Jeremy Hunt beforehand referred to as the case “unacceptable” and warned of “severe diplomatic penalties.”
A spokesman for UK Prime Minister Theresa Could mentioned Monday that the federal government “welcomed” Hedges’ pardon though “we did not agree with the fees.”
“However we’re grateful to the UAE authorities for resolving the problem,” the spokesman added.
Hunt informed reporters on Monday that Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheik Mohammed bin Zayed and its international minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, acknowledged “the significance of the strategic relationship between the UK and the UAE” and labored “very, very onerous to attempt to resolve this example.”
Nevertheless, Hunt added: “However, the reality is that we must always have by no means have gotten to right here and we’re deeply perplexed as to the way it occurred.”
The international secretary reiterated that the UK had not seen any proof to help the spy accusations towards Hedges.
Detained in Dubai — a UK-based authorized recommendation group — mentioned that whereas it was excellent news that Hedges has been launched, it was “removed from an optimum decision.”
Chief Government Radha Stirling mentioned in a press release: “Matthew ought to by no means have been arrested; by no means ought to have been compelled to signal a false confession in Arabic; by no means ought to have been locked up in solitary confinement for six months … and most actually by no means ought to have been sentenced to life imprisonment.
“The pardon doesn’t undo any of that, and certainly, Matthew’s innocence has not been admitted by the UAE; the wrongs carried out to him haven’t been acknowledged,” she added.
CNN’s Joshua Berlinger, Sam Kiley, Sara Sirgany and Bianca Britton contributed to this report.