A British PhD student has been sentenced to life in prison in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for spying.
Matthew Hedges, 31, of Durham University, has said he is innocent, and that he had been researching the country’s security strategy.
Prosecutors say he admitted the charges in an Abu Dhabi court, which found him guilty of “spying for or on behalf of” the UK government.
British Prime minister, Theresa May said the UK was urgently seeking talks with the Emirati government.
May said Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt was “seeking a call with UAE’s Foreign Minister, Abdullah bin Zayed”.
Hunt said he was “deeply shocked and disappointed” by the verdict.
He said he had raised the case with the “highest levels of the UAE government”, adding the verdict was “not what we expect from a friend and trusted partner of the United Kingdom, and runs contrary to earlier assurances”.
Hunt urged the UAE to reconsider the case.
“Our consular officials have been in close contact with Matthew Hedges and his family,” he said.
“We will continue to do everything possible to support him.”