Following widespread media reporting and speculation, Mohammed Obaid Al Zaabi, Director of the Department of the Foreign Nationals Affairs Department, of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, has carried out a review of the welfare status of British National Matthew Hedges.
The findings of the welfare review are that:
1) Since his arrest Mr. Hedges has been provided with constant medical and psychological care.
2) After his initial arrest and prior to trial proceeding, Mr. Hedges’ family members and embassy staff were given access to him on several occasions in accordance with UAE laws and regulations.
3) With the completion of the investigation process and since the commencement of the trial, as per UAE law, the conditions of Mr Hedges remand have been reduced:
a) Mr. Hedges has the ongoing facility to contact family, Embassy and Consular staff and his legal counsel by phone.
b) Mr. Hedges has been provided with books and reading material of his choice.
c) Mr. Hedges’ lawyer and his immediate family have the ongoing ability to access Mr Hedges in keeping with the protocols of the trial process.
4) Since the commencement of the trial, Mr. Hedges has been accommodated in a lower security remand centre.
It is important to note that the right to a fair trial is guaranteed by Article 94 of the UAE Constitution. The UAE constitution also provides that an accused person shall be presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a legal and fair trial. Articles 1 to 8 of Law No. 3 of 26 May 1993 guarantee the independence of Judges.
The treatment of Mr Hedges is entirely in keeping with obligations under UAE Law and international norms and Mr Hedges’ welfare has been appropriately supported and maintained throughout the process.