A British football coach who has been jailed for 25 years for possessing CBD vape liquid in Dubai is being “tortured” in prison, a friend of his has alleged.
Billy Hood, 24, was found guilty of possessing, selling and drug trafficking on January 31 after he found cannabis juice in his car.
In the UK, CBD oil is legal because it contains only trace amounts of the psychoactive cannabinoid THC.
But the United Arab Emirates – where Mr Hood, from west London, moved to work as a children’s football coach in 2020 – has a zero-tolerance approach to all cannabinoids and psychoactive drugs.
The UK Foreign Office website says punishments for drug trafficking offenses can be as severe as the death penalty, and at least four years in prison for possession of illicit drugs.
Mr Hood told the campaign group Detented in Dubai that police had arrived unexpectedly and demanded a search of his house and car. He also submitted a voluntary drugs test which came back negative.
He claimed that the oil was left behind by a friend who had come from England two weeks ago.
Dubai Police is believed to have taken him out after monitoring WhatsApp messages and looking for words related to drugs, such as CBD, an abbreviation for cannabinol.
A week before Mr Hood’s arrest, a friend who held the wipe liquid sent him a message that he had forgotten it in his car.
The BBC reported that officers then took Mr Hood to a police station and kept him in a cell “without any hygiene products” for 14 days.
This month, he was convicted by a court of drug trafficking with intent to supply this month, for which he received a 25-year prison sentence.
Now, he has reportedly told a friend that he is being tortured in Dubai’s Al-Barsha jail.
Soccer agent Alfie Cain claimed Mr Hood was beaten for five days as Dubai’s CID officials tried to force him to confess to drug offenses.
It was alleged that Mr Hood had signed a drug trafficking “confession”, which was written in Arabic, because he was exhausted and in pain, and because authorities had said he would have done so. They will stop killing him.
Quoted by Mr Cain Sun Saying: “It’s been bad in Al-Barsha, I’m not going to sugar coat it.
“When they took him to the CID drugs unit they beat him up for five whole days, he told me that the police officers teased him, slapped him in the face and all they fed was roti and a little water He was basically tortured and kept in a cell with 30 others for five days.
“Billy said they told him he could go home if he signed the paper, so he signed that piece of paper in Arabic and had no idea what he was signing, but he wanted to stop.”
Radha Sterling, founder and CEO of Detained In Pressure Group in Dubai, which is helping the Hood family, said forced and forced confessions are common in Dubai.
She described her treatment and sentence as “extreme” as “an oil that can’t even elevate you”.
Ms Sterling said possession of CBD oil would carry a maximum sentence of a few years, but Mr Hood’s sentence was 25 years because of charges of smuggling and selling.
Mr Hood’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to pay the legal fees, which are so far Around £15,000. raised.
On the fundraising page, it says: “He will be released in 10 days or maybe 10 years. We don’t know at the moment.”
Mr Hood’s family is appealing to the UK and UAE governments to intervene in the matter.
His mother, Breda Guccion, told the BBC: “When I imagine what our sweet boy is doing, I hide myself crying and crying. It’s the worst stress I’ve ever had and I feel helpless. I’m doing it.”
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /