Football coach jailed for 25 years in Dubai over CBD vape oil

Billy Hood
Billy Hood claims he was forced to sign a confession written in Arabic despite not speaking the language (Image: Detained in Dubai)

A British football coach has been jailed for 25 years in Dubai after four bottles of vape liquid containing cannabis oil were found in his car.

Billy Hood from Notting Hill, west London, was arrested on 31 January, shortly after moving to the country.

The 24-year-old claims he was forced to sign a confession written in Arabic despite not speaking the language.

The Foreign Office said it is “giving consular support to a British man who has been imprisoned” in Dubai.

Mr Hood, who played semi-professional football for Kensington and Ealing Borough FC, told campaign group Detained in Dubai police had unexpectedly turned up and demanded to search his home and car.

He told the group he was taken to a “police station and kept in an isolation cell for 14 days without any hygiene products”.

Mr Hood claimed the oil was left by a friend who had been visiting from England two weeks earlier.

But he claimed he was forced to sign a confession after being pressured by local law enforcement.

This month he was convicted by a court of drug trafficking with intent to supply.

Vaping cannabidiol (CBD) oil is legal in the UK and has become extremely popular – typically used to relieve pain, anxiety or stress.

The Foreign Office advise there is a “zero-tolerance for drugs-related offences” in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“Forced and coerced confessions are commonplace in Dubai,” said Radha Stirling, chief executive of Detained in Dubai, who are representing the family.

Sentences for drug trafficking can include the death penalty and possession of even the smallest amount of illegal drugs can lead to a minimum four-year jail sentence.

Billy Hood with family member
Billy Hood’s family are appealing to the UK and UAE government to intervene (Image: Detained in Dubai)

 

In a statement to his lawyers Mr Hood said: “I have always had a zero-tolerance on any drugs or illegal substances.

“For me to be accused of promoting and selling drugs in a country that has the same beliefs and values as me is very upsetting as it affects my future.”

Mr Hood’s family are appealing to the UK and UAE government to intervene in the case.

Mr Hood’s mother Breda said: “I have hidden myself away, crying and crying when I imagine what our sweet boy is going through.

“It is the worst stress I’ve ever been through and I feel helpless.”

The UAE embassy has been approached for comment.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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