A British footballer jailed in Dubai for CBD vape oil has launched a desperate bid for freedom.
The family of Billy Hood, 24, blasted his “ridiculous arrest” after being convicted of possession, sale and trafficking of drugs after police found only four small bottles of vape oil in his car.
A friend of Billy’s, from Ladbroke Grove in London, said he was “tortured” and “tasered” in a hellish prison in Dubai.
Billy has now appealed against his conviction with the help of activists detained in Dubai.
Group CEO Radha Sterling said “it’s very clear” that the court “never even heard Billy’s defense.”
“The evidence for the charge that Billy” was selling drugs “rests solely on the fact that Billy had £ 4000 in cash in his apartment and they are fully aware that this was money paid by his employer for his coaching job, ”she said.
She said with respect to the possession allegation “Social media communications confirm that the bottles were not Billy’s, did not belong to him and that he had no interest or desire to have them in his possession. possession”.
“Billy shouldn’t be punished for his friend’s mistakes,” she said.
“It is appalling that the police charged him with selling drugs and even more appalling that the judge accepted it.”
In a statement, her family said they were “angry” by what they claimed to be UAE “propaganda” in the matter.
“The authorities first said it was CBD vape and now they call it something else,” they said.
“It looks like they’re just trying to save their own reputation after embarrassing the whole country with this ridiculous arrest.
“Billy’s drug tests all came back negative. Anyone who knows Billy has vouched for him and his drug policy 100%.
“It is absolutely absurd that the police not only ruined his life, but also slandered him and his reputation.
“It is not acceptable that Billy has been detained for over nine months for four small bottles of vape oil that weren’t even his own and in which he has no interest.”
Speaking to friend Alfie Cain after his arrest in January, Billy described horrific conditions in the infamous Al-Barsha prison in Dubai.
Football agent Alfie says Billy was beaten daily for five days as Dubai CID agents tried to force the young coach to confess to drug crimes.
“It’s been bad at Al-Barsha, I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” said Alfie, a former London non-league footballer.
“When they took him to the CID drug unit, they beat him for five whole days, he told me that the police had tasered him, slapped him in the face and that they had fed him nothing but bread and a little water.
“He was basically tortured and put in a cell with 30 other people for five days. “
Billy told Alfie, also 24, that he only signed the drug trafficking confession because the police told him that if he signed the document, written in Arabic, they would stop the abuse.
“Billy said they told him he could go home if he signed the paper, that’s why he gave in and signed this piece of paper in Arabic, he had no idea what he was signing, but he just wanted it to stop. “
Human Rights Watch denounced the overcrowding and unsanitary conditions of the prison.
Vaped CBD oil is legal in the UK and has become extremely popular – typically used to relieve pain, anxiety, or stress.
But because it sometimes contains trace elements of THC – the main psychoactive compound found in cannabis – Billy was arrested and thrown in jail under the UAE’s tough 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 offenses of selling and trafficking oil.
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 coming to my eyes. It’s too hard to take.
Mother of three Breda, 55, said: “He’s not our Billy, he’s 100% innocent.”
In a statement through his lawyers, Billy said he had just moved to Dubai to coach children’s football and was arrested while picking up 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 to show them where the drugs are. I was shocked, scared and confused. I told them that I was not aware of or in possession of any drugs or substances.
Police told Billy they were interested in him because of something they saw on social media.
Convinced they had the wrong man, Billy allowed officers to search his apartment and car and submitted to a voluntary drug test which came back negative.
There is zero tolerance for drug offenses in the UAE.
The penalties for trafficking, smuggling and possession of even small amounts of drugs are severe.
Sentences for drug trafficking can include the death penalty, and possession of even the smallest amount of illegal drugs can carry a minimum prison sentence of four years.
Billy’s family has set up a GoFundMe page which has so far raised over £ 17,000.
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