By G9ija

UK academic Matthew Hedges arrived back in Britain Tuesday (local time) after being pardoned and released by the United Arab Emirates from a spying conviction.

Hedges’ family said he landed at London’s Heathrow Airport in the morning.

In a statement, the 31-year-old Durham University graduate student thanked supporters, British officials and his wife Daniela Tejada for securing his release.

“She is so brave and strong, seeing her and my family after this ordeal is the best thing that could have happened. I thank you all once again, this is very surreal,” he said.