On Wednesday the UAE imposed a life sentence on UK academic Matthew Hedges after a five-minute trial, with Hedges’ lawyer absent.

I spoke with Austria’s Radio FM4 on Thursday about the UAE’s motives in announcing the sentence now, after Hedges’ detention since May.

Listen from 12:16

Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been flexing their muscles — political, quasi-legal, and military — versus the West to show their authority and it appears that Matthew Hedges has been caught up in this power politics.