Released academic returns to Britain from UAE

FILE - In this undated family photo, showing Matthew Hedges with his wife Daniela Tejada. The United Arab Emirates has pardoned British academic researcher Matthew Hedges who was arrested May 5, 2018, at Dubai Airport and subsequently convicted and sentenced to life in prison for alleged espionage. (Daniela Tejada via AP, FILE)

LONDON (AP) — Academic Matthew Hedges has arrived back in Britain after being pardoned and released by the United Arab Emirates from a spying conviction.

Hedges' family says he landed at London's Heathrow Airport on Tuesday morning.

In a statement, the 31-year-old graduate student thanked supporters, British officials and his wife Daniela Tajada for securing his release. He said he had been through an "ordeal" and his situation was "surreal."

Hedges was arrested in Dubai in May after a research trip to the UAE and accused of espionage.

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