Matthew Hedges, the PhD student, came to the UAE to interview people about security surrounding the Arab Spring, and was arrested for suspected espionage.
The case brought media uproar, as it often does, in the UK and international media, looking to slam Dubai for its human rights systems.
The UAE Government went so far as to make a statement on the case- confirming that Hedges was a UK agent, and confessed to just that.
Regardless of that, his presence in an Arab country, enquiring about security measures, without any official authorisation or notification to the relevant bodies, what would you expect would happen?
Imagine if an Arab/Emirati man went to the United States, and started enquiring about Donald Trump’s security detail, asking questions to officials about security regarding a major event like a summit or conference?
Think about that.
Hedges has lived in Dubai, surely he was familiar with sensitivities – particularly regarding that of authoritative figures.
Speaking to high-ranking officials about security details, about the set up of a major event, it’s going to arouse suspicion in any country.
It’s also fair that the UAE is on high alert
In a tumultuous region with political instability surrounding many of our borders, it’s important that the security of the country is maintained. We’re blessed with a very safe country in the UAE, and that needs to be maintained.
Whether Hedges was or wasn’t a spy, it’s about following procedure and protocol. It’s a lesson to all of us – do due diligence prior to exploring sensitive topics.