IPSA Statement on the Imprisonment and Release of Matthew Hedges

IPSA is pleased to learn that Matthew Hedges, researcher from Durham University (UK), has been released by the United Arab Emirates authorities.

This said, we still wish to share our statement to express our general sensitivity to the violation of academic freedoms everywhere.

Subject: International Political Science Association (IPSA) statement regarding the sentencing to life imprisonment of Matthew Hedges in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The International Political Science Association (IPSA) is shocked by the sentencing to life imprisonment of Matthew Hedges, a Ph.D. researcher from Durham University. According to all known evidence, Matthew Hedges was solely conducting academic research in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and -as his University has stated- he was conducting his research activity in full accordance with Durham University’s research and ethics procedures and with the permission of the UAE government. The lack of due process, disregard for human rights and denial of a fair trial severely question the validity of Matthew Hedges’ sentencing to life imprisonment.

The International Political Science Association (IPSA) is deeply concerned about the violations of principles that are vital for carrying out academic and scientific undertakings under free and fair conditions, and therefore strongly rejects limitations, constraints or attacks on academic freedom.

IPSA asks for the reversal of Matthew Hedges’ sentence during the appeal stage, his release from prison and his being allowed to return to his home and family safely and to resume his legitimate academic activity. We call on the government of the UAE and international authorities to do their utmost to secure his release and to intensify efforts to ensure that no further interference to academic freedom and scholarly research occurs.