The wife of a British man jailed for allegedly spying in the UAE has said his release is "overwhelming" and she is thankful the country "saw it in their hearts to have compassion".
Daniela Tejada said she is elated and that his release was a "very sudden, very happy surprise".
"We were just starting or lives, so I'm thankful this opportunity has been given back to us," she said.
Matthew Hedges said he was in the Middle East country as part of his PHD studies, but prosecutors maintain he was "100% a full-time secret service operative".
His wife said she had "no clue" how they came to that conclusion.
Mr Hedges' whereabouts are not yet known but a UAE official confirmed his release in a news conference announcing that he had been pardoned.
The 30-year-old had been detained at Dubai Airport on 5 May and was said to be in an increasingly fragile mental state.
The foreign secretary – who intervened in the case – said the decision to pardon the academic was "fantastic news".
His wife said the first thing she wanted to do when Mr Hedges returns is arrange a "winter barbecue".
"We had it postponed from the spring, so hopefully we'll get to catch up on some sleep and have our winter barbecue," said Ms Tajeda.
At a news conference earlier, an official showed a video – seen by Sky News – purporting to show Mr Hedges confessing to the charges, in which he said he was a member of MI6.
The UAE claimed it had evidence he was collecting sensitive economic data and information on its military.
The official said the Durham University researcher was approaching sources as a PhD student to gain access to information.
His wife said: "In my heart I know what Matt is – he's a PHD researcher, his colleagues know it and his family know it, hundreds of academics around the world know it, and that's all that matters."
Mr Hedges is being released alongside 784 other prisoners as part of the UAE's 47th National Day.
Officials said he would leave the country after relevant procedures had been completed.
The foreign secretary tweeted that Mr Hedges' release was a "bittersweet moment" because justice would not be done until Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and others detained in Iran are also freed.
University of Durham's Professor John Williams told Sky News of his "delight" at the release of Mr Hedges.
More from Matthew Hedges
Responding to claims of a confession, he said: "Without the context of the full video it's very hard to reach much of a judgement… other people have pointed to what they think of are pretty significant inconsistencies in what Matthew's said in relation to how that might have stacked up against say rank structures within MI6 for example."
Amnesty International also welcomed Mr Hedges' release, saying it was "a huge relief and goes some way to righting a wrong after Matthew's grossly unfair trial".