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A Dubai-based youth football coach has been sentenced to 25 years in prison after being caught with four small bottles of CBD vape oil, reports The Sun.
Billy Hood, 24, from London, was approached by police as he pulled something out of his car. Assuming they had the wrong person, he underwent a drug test, which was negative, and gave them permission to search his car and his apartment.
Hood told officers he had been driving a friend of his from England who said he had to leave the oil in the pocket of his car door. The former semi-professional footballer, who previously played in the Kensington and Ealing district and now coaches youth football in Dubai, insists he has never touched drugs or smoked a cigarette. Unfortunately, they did not believe him and took him to the CID headquarters in Dubai.
Dubai police officers say they were responding to a warning when they searched his car and apartment, but only found oil and some cash that Hood said his employer gave him while he was building. a bank account. CBD oil, which is generally used to treat anxiety and nausea, is legal in the UK, but due to the tiny amounts of THC in the oil, it is enough to be convicted of possession in Dubai. .
According to activists, Billy was arrested on Jan. 31 before being pressured to sign a written confession in Arabic, which turns out to include the most serious crimes of selling and trafficking oil.
Speaking to The Sun, Billy’s mother, Brenda, said, “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 forming in my eyes. It is too difficult to accommodate. The weird time trying to make phone calls. We love him very much ”.
He added: “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.” “
Hood’s family is currently being helped by a charity that helps Westerners who have received lengthy prison sentences in the UAE.
Founder and CEO Radha Stirling explained: “He was arrested and charged with trafficking, selling and possessing CBD oil, which is illegal in the United Arab Emirates. 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, very small penalty, possibly a few years at most, but because they have added traffic and sales there they have become 25 years old.
“The only proof is the confession in Arabic and I didn’t know what he was signing. Billy only contained a very small amount of CBD oil, but inside the oil are microscopic trace elements of the active ingredient THC and this is enough for a conviction. It’s incredible, 25 years to have an oil that can’t even get you up, it’s extreme ”.
Radha says a Hood 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. They accuse 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. ”
A spokesman for the Office of Foreign Affairs and the Commonwealth commented: “We give consular support to a British man imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates.”
The UAE is famous for imposing long prison sentences for drug-related crimes and drug trafficking can be punished with the death penalty. Even possessing traces of illegal drugs can impose a minimum sentence of four years in prison.
Billy Hood’s family has created a GoFundMe page, which has so far raised almost £ 11,000.