Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (CNN)A British academic accused of spying was sentenced to life in prison in the United Arab Emirates after a five-minute hearing in which he was not represented by a lawyer, his family said, prompting outrage from politicians in London.
Matthew Hedges, a specialist in Middle Eastern studies at Durham University in England, was arrested on May 5 by UAE officials as he was leaving Dubai airport after a research trip. Accused of espionage, the 31-year-old was held in solitary confinement for almost six months. But he was released on bail last month.
A family spokeswoman said Hedges was forced to sign a confession in Arabic, a language Hedges does not read or speak.