A British student accused of spying in the United Arab Emirates has been jailed for life by a court in Abu Dhabi, family spokeswoman Nikita Bernardi said.
Matthew Hedges, 31, who was in the Middle East to research his PhD thesis was arrested at Dubai Airport on 5 May and accused of spying for the British Government.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt and Middle East minister Alistair Burt have both travelled to the UAE since Mr Hedges was detained to make representations on his behalf.
Ahead of the court appearance, Mrs Bernardi said they did not know what to expect from the court appearance.
She said: We have no indication as to what way it will go. Were trying to stay hopeful but we dont want to raise our hopes too much.
Mr Hedges, a specialist in Middle Eastern studies at Durham University, went to the UAE to research his PhD thesis, where he was accused of spying for the British Government and arrested.
Wednesday was his third court appearance.
At Mr Hedges last hearing on 24 October, his court-appointed lawyer maintained that he is innocent.
On 29 October, Mr Hedges was released from detention and he has since been staying in Dubai with an ankle bracelet monitoring his movements.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has previously said there are limits to what it can say publicly about the case because of the legal proceedings.
It said it was monitoring developments closely and staff were in close contact with Mr Hedges wife Daniela, offering her support.
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