A Dubai-based UK football coach has been jailed for 25 years after being found with four small bottles of harmless CBD vape oil.
Police searched Billy Hood’s apartment and car after a rogue drug council, but instead officers found only cash and oil.
Billy Hood has been sentenced to 25 years in prison in DubaiCredit: Facebook
The fitness fan has been in jail since JanuaryCredit: Facebook
Four small bottles of CBD oil were found in his carCredit: Getty: Contributor
Vaping CBD oil is legal in the UK and has become a very popular product, which is generally used to relieve pain, anxiety or stress.
But because it contains trace elements in THC, the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis, 24-year-old Billy was arrested and jailed under medieval UAE drug laws.
After his arrest on Jan. 31, activists say Billy was forced to sign a false confession written in Arabic admitting the most serious crimes of selling and trafficking oil.
And last week he surprised Billy, of Ladbroke Grove, London, who was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Breda, Billy’s mother, heartbroken, told The Sun: “I don’t think there’s a word in the dictionary that describes the pain I’m going through.
“I can’t talk about it without tears in my eyes. It is too difficult to accommodate.
“The weirdo he tries to call on the phone … we love him so much.”
Former semi-professional footballer Billy, who used to play in Kensington and Ealing district, had been in Dubai coaching children’s football and his family said he has never touched drugs.
Breda, 55, said: “This is not our Billy, he is 100% innocent. There was no help from the embassy. We have been in constant contact with them. I got in touch with them every day. The best I have is that “it’s okay.” “
In a statement through his lawyers, Billy said he had just moved to Dubai and was arrested when he went to get something from his car.
“They jumped to arrest me, handcuffed me. An officer jumped up and pointed a Taser at me, threatening to use it if I didn’t cooperate, ”he said.
“They demanded that they be shown where the drugs were. I was shocked, scared and confused. I told them I had no knowledge or any drugs or substances. “
Police had told Billy that they were interested in him for something they had seen on social media.
Convinced they had the wrong man, Billy allowed officers to search his apartment and car and underwent a drug test that turned out to be negative.
Officers found several thousand pounds of cash in his apartment, which Billy says was money from his new employer while he was setting up a bank account.
They then searched his company’s car and found four 5ml cartridges of CBD vape oil and a pen on the car door.
Billy explained that his friend from England had visited a few weeks earlier and that he had to leave CBD oil in the car while heading to the airport.
His explanation fell on deaf ears and he was taken to the CID headquarters in Dubai.
It was alleged that police pressured the Briton to sign a confession written in Arabic.
Detained in Dubai, a charity that helps Westerners who are slapped with long and unfair sentences in the UAE, is helping Billy’s family.
Founder and CEO Radha Stirling told The Sun: “He was arrested and charged with trafficking, selling and possessing CBD oil, which is illegal in the UAE.
“He spent four days in prison and was forced and coerced into signing a confession, which is common in Dubai.
“Owning CBD oil would be a very small sentence, possibly a few years at most, but as traffic and sales have been added, it has become 25 years.
“The only proof is the confession in Arabic and I didn’t know what he was signing.
Accusing me of promoting and selling drugs in a country that has the same beliefs and values that I am very upset about as it affects my future
“Billy only contained a very small amount of CBD oil, but inside the oil are microscopic trace elements of the active ingredient THC and that is enough for a conviction.
“It’s amazing, 25 years to have an oil that can’t even get you up, it’s extreme.”
Radha says a Billy lawyer will file an appeal and his organization plans to pressure the British government for help in trying to overturn the sentence.
Billy, terrified, added to his statement: “I don’t smoke pens, cigarettes or even shisha.
“To be accused of promoting and selling drugs in a country that has the same beliefs and values that I am very upset about as it affects my future.”
A spokesman for the Commonwealth and Foreign Office said: “We give consular support to a British man imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates.”
In the United Arab Emirates there is zero tolerance for drug-related offenses.
Penalties for trafficking, smuggling and possession of drugs (even residual amounts) are severe.
Sentences for drug trafficking can include the death penalty and possession of even the smallest amount of illegal drugs can lead to a minimum sentence of four years in prison.
Billy’s family has created a GoFundMe page that has so far raised almost £ 11,000.
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