Brit Gets 25 Years In Dubai Jail After Police Find Cannabis Oil In His Car
A football coach from the United Kingdom has received a 25-year prison sentence in Dubai after police found cannabis oil in his car.
Londoner Billy Hood, 24, was taken by police on January 31, shortly after moving to Dubai.
Hood says he was forced to sign a confession written in Arabic even though he cannot read or speak the language.
The Foreign Office said it was “giving consular support to a British man who has been imprisoned” in Dubai.
The Brit said police had suddenly shown up and demanded to search his vehicle and home.
At the time Hood was with another friend at home as police threatened to tase him as he went to his car to get his phone charger. They found four cannabis oil bottles in his car.
According to the Detained In Dubai campaign group, he was taken to a “police station and kept in an isolation cell for 14 days without any hygiene products”.
The football coach and former semi-professional player said the oil was left by a friend of his who had visited him from the UK a couple of weeks before.
Hood’s legal team said he succumbed to the pressure of interrogators and signed a confession after being told the following:
“If you do not sign, you will never leave CID [criminal investigation department].”
Hood was kept at the station for almost a year until he was sentenced to 25 years behind bars for trafficking, supplying and possession of drugs.
He said he has always been against the use of drugs.
“I do not smoke vape pens, cigarettes or even shisha. I coach football six to seven days a week. I am always working with kids and in schools all over Dubai.
“From age 16, I played football at a professional level for more than two years. I have always had a zero tolerance on any drugs or illegal substances.
“One of the main reasons I moved to the UAE was to pursue my coaching career. I have spent six-plus years collecting my coaching badges and would never let something such as drugs ruin everything.”
Hood’s mother, Brenda, said his loved ones are working on an appeal and pleaded with Sheikh Mohammed, the vice-president and UAE prime minister, to help them.
“The Foreign Office has done nothing to help us. We are so disappointed.
“After learning of the other cases where people have been set up by police or falsely accused of a crime, I can’t believe the British government has not put this in their travel warnings.
“He’s never been into drugs, ever. It is impossible that he is guilty of the allegations against him.”
Radha Stirling, the chief executive of Detained in Dubai, which represents the family, said “forced and coerced confessions are commonplace in Dubai”.
The United Arab Emirates is known for its extreme sentences, which can include the death penalty, and possession of even the smallest amount of illegal drugs can result in a minimum jail sentence of four years.
A Foreign Office spokesperson said:
“We are giving consular support to a British man imprisoned in the UAE.”
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