>> Jailed for life after a trial that lasted just five minutes. A UAE court sentenced academic Matthew Hedges on Wednesday on charges of spying for the British government. His lawyer wasn't present, his family said. Britain, an old ally of the United Arab Emirates, threatened serious diplomatic consequences. Though the gulf state insisted the Britain was treated fairly to protect their relationship.
>> We are, of course, as he is, deeply disappointed and concerned with today's verdict. And I realize how difficult and distressing this is, both for Matthew Hedges, but also for his family. We are raising it with the Emirati authorities at the highest level.>> His wife called for his release Thursday.
>> His innocence is evident. And every evidence against him is completely fabricated. And he was put through so much strain for six months that absolutely nothing that he said or didn't could be used against him.>> Hedges confessed, the public prosecutor said, and could appeal the verdict. But his family said he was made to sign a confession in Arabic that he could not understand.
The UAE's foreign ministry denied that and said he was provided with translators. Hedges was also held in solitary confinement for months, his family said, after his arrest at Dubai airport in May, following a two week research visit. They said the evidence presented in court consisted of notes from his dissertation research.
A Reuter's journalist was barred from the hearing in Abu Dhabi, which was closed to the public.