UAE asked me to spy on Britain ―Matthew Hedges
A British academic held in solitary confinement in the United Arab Emirates for nearly six months was asked to spy on the UK, he claimed today.
Matthew Hedges was sentenced to life in jail by the Gulf state after being accused of working for MI6, before being pardoned by the nation’s president days later.
Now back home with his wife Daniela Tejada, the Durham University PhD student has told how his interrogators told him to steal documents from the UK’s Foreign Office.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Mr Hedges said: ‘This is how my panic attacks started on the first week, this was on the third or fourth day.
‘They propositioned me to steal official documentation from the Foreign Office, and so I had a panic attack. And I said “listen, even if I wanted to I couldn’t.
“I don’t work for the Foreign Office – I don’t know how you think this would be possible”. And that’s how that process went downhill quite quickly.”
He added on the programme that he had suicidal thoughts, saying: ”I was having quite bad panic attacks and I felt I was chocking and couldn’t breathe.
”And in that night I dreamt I was hanging myself in the cell. So that wasn’t good. It was very, very hard to deal with during that time period.
”Throughout the whole interrogation process, because you’re by yourself there’s no outlet, there’s no one to speak to, you start weighing up your options.”
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The 31-year-old is said to have been given Xanax, Valium, and benzodiazepine after he begged to be given medicine for his depression and anxiety.
And on his interrogation, he added: ”All I know is that I confessed to being an MI6 agent. I have little to no clue about this, but they asked me what rank I was.
Mr Hedges has now revealed he was forced to stand in ankle cuffs and sometimes interrogated for 15 hours at a time in his cell at Abu Dhabi jail, as reported by Dailymail.
He was diagnosed with depression and anxiety prior to travelling to the UAE, and he had begged his captors for his medicine.
His wife, Daniela Tejada, 27, had sent UAE authorities an NHS letter confirming his diagnosis in a bid to grant him his medication.
He said he became ”scared and on edge” after being force-fed a dangerous cocktail of Xanax, Valium, and benzodiazepine by his captors.