British football coach jailed for 25 years in Dubai over cannabis oil found in car

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He has been jailed for 25 years after cannabis oil was found in the car of a British football coach in Dubai.

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Billy Hood, 24, from west London, said he was forced to sign a false confession written in Arabic for the smuggling, supply and possession of CBD vape oil – which is legal in the UK.

This was after police searched his car and found four small bottles of the substance, which they said had been left behind by a friend.


The former semi-professional footballer who coached children in the United Arab Emirates spent nine months in prison after his arrest in January, before being sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Radha Sterling, chief executive of Detented Inn in Dubai, host of the Gulf in Justice podcast and expert in extradition cases, is helping Hood’s family.

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He said: “Forced and forced confessions are common in Dubai. Although CBD oil was not related to Billy’s, it is legal in many countries including the UK where one can buy it from a local health food store.

“It doesn’t get you ‘high’ and in no way guarantees this man’s life has been stolen from him.

“The UAE promotes itself as a glamorous ‘party place’ for foreigners with marketing designed to attract investors, skilled workers and tourists.

“Celebrities are paid to market the country, eventually masking the truth for money.

“People arrested for a legal prescription drug, for dust glasses or for having affiliation with someone, for a false allegation, for trace elements of a glass of wine in a flight or hash consumed outside the country which still exist.

“Then we have several foreigners arrested for cybercrime complaints like Facebook messages, WhatsApp or even a negative hotel review.”

The Foreign Office was accused by her mother Breda of not doing enough to help Hood.

Asked specifically about the allegation, a spokesman said only that the FCO was “giving consular support to a British man imprisoned in the UAE”.

Ms Sterling, who represented seven other prisoners detained under controversial circumstances in Dubai, said: “The handling of drug cases by the Dubai Police has resulted in several unfair detentions of foreign nationals.

“We have seen people arrested and even convicted without evidence, often on the basis of forced confessions in Arabic or the testimony of informants encouraging third-party witnesses.

“Drug punishment is prestigious to the police, leading to promotion and renown. Courts do not require sufficient evidence to prove a conviction.

“They are happy to execute people’s lives based on third-party rumors or forced confessions. Foreigners find it nearly impossible to achieve a fair trial and false accusations are common.

Ms Sterling called on Sheikh Mohammed, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, as well as the Dubai government, to release Hood.

She continued: “These are not isolated incidents but repeated patterns and that is why Baroness Whitaker, Andy Slaughter and other MPs have asked the Foreign Office to increase their travel warnings and even to detain Britain’s Has called for the UAE to sanction the abuse.

“Billy Hood doesn’t deserve to spend 25 years in a desert prison because his friend left some CBD oil in his company car.

“He has already spent a terrifying nine months in custody, which is a very frightening and stressful experience for him and his entire family. We appeal to Sheikh Mohammed and the Dubai government to let Billy come home.”

Additional reporting by SWNS


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